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Google today made a major change to its search algorithm that will affect almost 12% of all queries. According to a blog post written by the company’s Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, this change is meant to highlight high-quality sites and push down “sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are...

Whether you’re an accomplished home cook or just want to put something more imaginative on the table than pasta with canned sauce, chances are you’ve used a search engine to find new recipes. Starting today, Google is making it easier to find just the right thing to cook thanks to its new Recipe View feature. With Recipe View, which...

All the major search engines are now working on integrating signals from your own personal network on sites like Facebook and Twitter to enhance their search results. Google launched its latest initiative last week and today Bing is launching the next step in its program to bring more “liked results” to its results pages. Whenever one of you friends has liked a page that appears in your search results on Microsoft's search engine, this fact is now highlighted on Bing and your friends' profile pictures will appear underneath the link.

The Internet is full of great data, but much of it is stuck in spreadsheet-like columns and simply hard to parse. Google and Eyebeam, a non-profit and technology center, want to raise the bar and just announced the launch of its Data Viz Challenge that will award a total of $10,000 to the best visualizations of the tax data provided by WhatWePayFor.com. According to Google, the goal of this contest is to "show everyone how data visualization can be a powerful tool for turning information into understanding."

While Apple's penchant for secrecy contributes to its mystique, it's also responsible for a kind of 21st century Kremlinology where every one of Steve Jobs' words is carefully analyzed for hidden meanings. At times, Jobs will bypass the regular PR channels and respond to email himself.Generally, these emails clear the air when there is some confusion and with regards to Apple's new in-app subscription program, there seems to be plenty of that going around. Just a few days ago, Apple denied an iPhone app from time-shifted reading service Readability because it offered a third-party subscription service without offering Apple's own service at the same time - a restriction of Apple's in-app subscription program that ensures that Apple will get a 30% cut of all subscriptions.

For the last week or so, I've been testing Yobongo, a new app that creates mobile, ad-hoc, location-based chat rooms. Launched by former Justin.tv employees Caleb Elston and David Kasper, the service's iPhone app, which is still in private beta testing, is already being hailed by some as having the potential to be this year's breakout hit at SXSW next month. After testing Yobongo, I'm happy to say that it does indeed have the potential to follow in Twitter's footsteps and take SXSW by storm.

Germany's minister of defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg plagiarized large parts of his Ph.D. thesis. This scandal would likely have rocked Germany's political scene even before the Internet, but the massive extend of his academic fraud only became public thanks to a massive crowdsourced effort and the smart use of a Wikia-hosted wiki.

Going from writing for one of the biggest tech blogs in the world to writing my own blog again is obviously quite a change. Not only do I have to manage all the gritty details of my server setup, but not having a few extra sets of eyes around to find interesting stories makes finding breaking news items a bit harder. That said, there is something exhilarating about being your own boss, having full control over what you want to write about and not having to fulfill a certain quote of posts every day.

Just when you thought Net neutrality was going to be the law of the land soon, Washington politics intervene. Now it looks as if the highly charged political atmosphere in Washington could put the enforcement of the FCC's proposed Net neutrality rules on hold or even kill the altogether.

Over the last few weeks, rumors about the possibility of a smaller iPhone model continued to make their rounds in the tech world. According to a new report in the New York Times, however, Apple is "not currently developing a smaller iPhone." Instead, the New York Times' Miguel Helft and Nick Bilton report, Apple's engineers are putting the final touches on the next version of the iPhone.

Starting today, Google will integrate Social Search deeper into its main search results and will highlight whenever your friends shared this link on Twitter or Buzz. Even more importantly, Google will use these signals from your friends to personalize your search results if appropriate. If your friend shared a story about Google's new Social Search feature on Google Reader, for example, this link will climb up in Google's search results.

Even though some argue that Internet Explorer 9 is about two years late, there is clearly still a lot of interest in Microsoft's newest browser. Since its launch on February 10, the release candidate of IE9 has been downloaded 2 million times. This number only includes user-initiated downloads, as Microsoft has not pushed automatic updates to current IE9 beta users.

Google just announced its new content payment system One Pass that gives publishers a very flexible and affordable option for charge their readers for access to their content. With One Pass, publishers can charge readers on the Web and in mobile apps for subscriptions, metered access, day passes, single articles and "freemium" conten

On January 19th, Starbucks launched its virtual Starbucks Card mobile payment app for the iPhone and select BlackBerry devices nationwide after running a number of tests in a few select markets last year. Today the company announced that it has already processed more than 1 million transactions since the

After World War II, the United States launched the Voice of America broadcasting service to get its message to the citizens of America's friends and foes. Now, after social media played such pivotal roles in the successful revolution in Egypt and the earlier uprisings in Iran and Tunesia, the U.S. State Department has begun sending Twitter messages in Farsi to Iranians from an account called USAdarFarsi.