Tech wrap: Google +1 = happier advertisers

March 30, 2011

An image detailing Google's new "+1" feature as screen grabbed from www.google.com/experimental.  REUTERS/Google/HandoutGoogle launched “+1″, its version of Facebook’s “like” button, enabling you to publicly share search results that you fancy with friends, the Web and advertisers. Google found that including +1 recommendations on ads boosted the rates at which people click on them. Eventually, Google plans to let third-party websites feature +1 buttons directly on their own pages, the company said. The ability to +1 ads and for that endorsment to appear on ads on websites other than Google’s is key, writes TechCrunch’s MG Siegler, and another volley fired in the war between Google and Facebook.

Google agreed to have independent privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years as part of a settlement with FTC officials investigating privacy problems that cropped up in its botched roll-out of social network Buzz. Buzz initially used its Gmail customers’ email contact lists to create social networks of Buzz contacts that the rest of the world could see, which led to an uproar.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson disputed the commonly held belief that consumer bills would rise if there were fewer competitors in the U.S. wireless market, referring to a government report that showed prices on average fell 50 percent over the last decade despite five wireless mergers over the period.

Electric carmaker Tesla Motors said it is suing the BBC’s hit motoring show Top Gear for allegedly faking a drag race between its electric Roadster Sport and the gasoline-powered Lotus Elise. Tesla said the show rigged scenes of the Roadster running out of charge and being pushed into a hanger. The BBC said that it “stands by the program and will be vigorously defending this claim”.

A missing Bronx Zoo cobra had more than 150,000 people following Twitter posts about her escape from the Bronx Zoo, including top politicians and celebrities. “Today President Obama and I toured NYC’s Museum of Natural History. We saw a 94 foot whale, but not @BronxZoosCobra,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted. Ellen Degeneres suggested the cobra visit the distinctive Guggenheim Museum. “They have a great Kandinsky exhibit,” she tweeted. “They also don’t have any stairs”.

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