Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wal Mart Mexico Launches Largest Solar Array in Latin America

read at TreeHugger:
"Wal Mart Mexico is getting in on the act, launching a 174kw solar array on top of Bodega Aurrera Aguascalientes, one of its stores.

While nowhere near the size of many recent record breaking solar projects elsewhere, (the largest solar roof in the world being GM's 12MW system in Spain), the array is apparently the largest solar array in Latin America. Whether or not we compare it to international records, it is still a major step forward, and a step forward that may encourage the kind of 'solar arms race' we've been seeing elsewhere in the world, with new projects getting bigger all the time. Encouragingly this project is being billed as just a beginning for Wal Mart Mexico."

Walmart latest to create iPhone app

read at VentureBeat
"Walmart’s app is at least a little more interesting. Called “Walmart - BlowAKiss,” the app is targeted towards Valentine’s Day shoppers. While naturally you can browse and buy Valentine’s Day presents (or, as some might call it, junk), the app also allows you to send that special someone a specially decorated email — or as Walmart calls it, “blow them a kiss.”

The somewhat cute thing about it is that to send the message from your iPhone you actually blow into the device’s microphone. So technically, you are actually blowing them the kiss."

Wal-Mart Opens Campus Pharmacy at U.C.

Walread at
"CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The University of Charleston and Wal-Mart cut the ribbon Friday to open the first of its kind, on-campus pharmacy in the United States.

The pharmacy, which is open to the general public, will teach students real-life work experience while providing quality healthcare services to the local community.

The facility, located in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education on the UC campus."

Wal-Mart Gets Majority Stake In Chilean Retailer

read at KHBS NW Arkansas:
"BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said its tender offer to acquire a majority stake in Chile's largest food retailer was successful. Wal-Mart says it has acquired about 58.2 percent of the Distribucion y Servicio's shares. The move helps Wal-Mart expand in the South American country.

Wal-Mart already has a global procurement office in Santiago and exports Chilean products to its stores in the U.S. and throughout the world. Wal-Mart says D&S operates more than 180 stores in Chile. Wal-Mart's international business is the company's fastest-growing division."

Google Puts The Squeeze On Free Apps (Updated)

read at
"Google says the vast majority of the 1 million businesses that use Google Apps opt for the free advertising supported version. To make the free option less attractive they've been quietly lowering the number of user accounts that can be associated with a free account. Now as businesses grow, they'll be forced to move to the paid version much more quickly than before.

Google Apps is a suite of online applications like gmail, Google calendar, Google Docs, etc. that are packaged and tailored for business use. It's growing fast - in a recent post where Google announced the opening of a reseller program, the company said that more than 1 million businesses and 10 million users use Google Apps today, and 3,000 new businesses sign up daily. The largest business user, Genentech, has 20,000 employees on Google Apps."

Google ready to pursue its agenda in Washington

read at the Los Angeles Times
By Jim Puzzanghera and Jessica Guynn
January 24, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- Another inauguration took place in Washington this week -- Google Inc. officially became a political power player.

In October, Google was only hours from being sued by the Justice Department as a Web-search monopolist. Today, less than three years after it made its first Washington hire, the Internet giant is poised to capitalize on its backing of President Obama and pursue its agenda in the nation's capital."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Retailers Still Expanding in China

read more (subscription required)


Some of the biggest international retailers are going ahead with ambitious expansion plans in China, which remains a relative bright spot in a world of slumping sales.

Companies like U.K. supermarket chain Tesco PLC and big-box retailers Carrefour SA and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. continue to see the Chinese consumer as a good long-term bet. For now, even though consumer sentiment in China shows clear signs of flagging, retail sales growth is still positive.

Retailers 'look stupid if they open in Europe or the U.S., so emerging markets [like China] look more attractive,' said Morgan Parker, Asia president of luxury ..."

Google Reports Inauguration Day Searches

read at InformationWeek:
"'During the last nine years, the growth of the Internet has changed the way the world seeks information,' they observe. 'From President Bush's first inaugural address in 2001 to his second in 2005, the number of inauguration-related searches increased by more than a factor of 10. From 2005 to today's address, the number grew even more.'

Equally significant, if not more so for traditional media organizations, is the extent to which Google has become the TV Guide of the Internet. 'Few of the 2001 queries requested 'video,' and none requested streaming,' write Oldham and Leach. 'By 2005, a few queries such as 'inauguration audio' and 'streaming video of inauguration' appeared. Today, technology has become so prevalent that queries such as 'YouTube live inauguration,' 'live blogging inauguration,' 'inaugural podcast,' and 'Obama inaugural speech mp3' formed one-third of all inauguration-related queries.'"

As Goes Google So Goes The Economy?

read at Search Engine Watch (SEW): "Forbes just published a piece about 'Google as Economic Barometer'. It has some merit and a lot of details. Basically stating 'Investors searching Google's fourth-quarter earnings may see clues about the state of the Internet ad business, the economy and the future of the company itself.'

Dropping various products like Print Ads, its Twitter-like application Jaiku, and Lively a Second Life clone, reflects a tightening of its bottom line. Firing 100 recruiters (and the implied drop in future hires) and the closing of its offices in Sweden and Norway, as well as a newly opened one in Austin, Texas are also the actions of a company trying to improve its numbers. The cutting of 20 engineers cuts a little to the heart of the company's operation."

Google helping tourists around New York City

read at
"New York City, along with Google, launched a new website that is designed to help tourists and residents find their way around the city, and plan their days out. As a recent first-time visitor to the Big Apple, a site like this would have actually been quite useful.

Mayor Bloomberg says he hopes that “ becomes the official online resource for tourists and residents looking for an activity or a place to go”. The site appears to have lots of information, and can definitely direct people in the right direction."

Google Adds YouTube Videos To Gmail Chat -

read more at InformationWeek:
"Google (NSDQ: GOOG) decided that opening another window on your desktop to view a YouTube video required too much effort. Solution? Video viewing capabilities are now a standard Gmail Chat feature.

Tack on another feature to the growing list of 'I Can Do That' abilities in Google's Gmail.

Software engineer Jessan Hutchison-Quillian posted a blurb on The Official Gmail Blog late last night. Hutchison-Quillian says, 'My friends always hate it when I multitask in other tabs while chatting with them (they can tell because of my obviously delayed reactions...). But sometimes it's not my fault: if they send me a link to a YouTube video, I have to open another tab in order to watch it.'"

YouTube to content partners: Advertise away

read more at Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog
"TechCrunch is reporting that YouTube is beginning to allow content partners to serve their own ads along with videos they make available via the service. This is, of course, pretty huge. It’s one of the key principles of monetizing unbundled media and one that mass media types will immediately welcome. After all, who has a bigger mass that YouTube, right?

Erick Schonfeld, who wrote the TechCrunch piece, rightly notes that Google wants to monetize YouTube any way it can.

The ability to sell their own ads on YouTube is a big deal for larger media companies, especially those which are already selling Web video ads across their own sites. Media companies with lots of video tend to have large advertising sales teams that are typically able to command better ad rates than what YouTube can get. The prospect of selling ads against all of their videos on YouTube at those higher ad rates has them salivating, even if they have to share the spoils with YouTube."

What do Wal-Mart and open-source software have in common?

read at
"The 451 Group, a market intelligence consultancy that proudly distinguishes itself from its 'pay-for-play-propaganda' competitors, predicts that 2009 will be a big year for open-source software merger and acquisition activity. (DealBook has the tip.)

The reasoning goes something like this: In a down economy, software users are going to seek the low-price alternative, just as retail consumers flock to Wal-Mart. So established software companies will be looking to snap up likely suspects.

The expectation is not that customers will divert funds previously allocated to proprietary projects toward open source software but that significant project spending will be delayed while open source becomes even more attractive for smaller, skunkworks-style projects."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wal-Mart makes Vancouver foray

read more at Clagary Herald
"From Herald News Services
Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Retail - Wal-Mart plans to open its first Vancouver store today.

The new outlet represents the retailer's long-sought break into the Vancouver market following the very public and political rejection of a proposed development at another location in 2005."

Google Web Drive online storage service tipped in Picasa

read more at SlashGear:
"Google could be developing a new online storage system, if a screenshot from the new version of Picasa for Mac is to be believed. The image shows a new entry to the “Move to Collection” menu option, listing “Google Web Drive” among the usual array of folders and shortcuts."

Using Google's Year'End Report for Market Research

read more at -
Published: January 20, 2009
Think you're up on the latest trends? Check out Google Zeitgeist to find out. Google recently released its annual report of fastest'rising search terms for the year, which covers everything from politics to gifts, and it also has a host of other tools to help you better understand what's hot and what's not. The Year'End Zeitgeist report takes you back through the top events, happenings, and issues of the year."

Google’s inauguration search queries show a rapidly evolving Internet �

read more at VentureBeat
"n 2001, there were no Google search queries for streaming video of George W. Bush’s inaugural address. In fact, there were very few even for video of the event. By 2005, Bush’s second inaugural address, that had changed as inauguration-related searches rose by a factor of 10. Yesterday, during Barack Obama’s inauguration, that factor grew even more, according to a post on the Google Blog."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Google’s founding chef opens restaurant

read more at San Francisco Business Times::
Google Inc.’s founding executive chef, Charlie Ayers, opens his first restaurant Tuesday in Palo Alto.

Calafia Cafe & Market A-Go-Go is a casual caf�and bar located in Town & Country Village.

Ayers is known for this “slow food served fast” approach to cooking and wrote Food 2.0: Secrets from the Chef Who Fed Google .

He plans to use a majority of ingredients from within a 150-mile radius and will not serve food containing growth hormones or antibiotics."

Presidential inauguration streams live to iPhone

read at TG Daily

"Washington (DC) - Tomorrow's Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, an event of historic proportions by any merit, will be streamed live to iPhone and iPod touch users - thanks to Juicy Development's Talk Radio application. As the inauguration ceremony unfolds, iPhone and iPod touch users across the globe will be able to hear a live audio stream of the event. That is, provided there is public Wi-Fi hotspot coverage because carriers don't currently allow applications that stream audio over their cellular networks."

YouTube rolls out download feature on Barack Obama channel

read at TG Daily
"Chicago (IL) - Barack Obama, the first African American President in the U.S. history, is scheduled to become sworn today at noon EST. He also appeared to have found some spare time to roll out a new YouTube feature that finally lets people legally download YouTube videos to their computers. Sort of. Google has actually chosen Barack Obama's YouTube channel as an exclusive test ground for the download feature that may or may not eventually apply to entire YouTube content when it's rolled out officially. The choice of Obama's channel is not coincidental: With today's inauguration, traffic on Obama's channel would go through the roof - a real test for the download feature."

Yahoo gains search advertising market share, Google keeps lead

read at the Atlanta Business Chronicle:
"Google Inc. maintained its hold on the search advertising market during the fourth quarter with 76 percent market share while Yahoo Inc. gained 3 percent share year-over-year, according to a report Tuesday.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Efficient Frontier, which provides search engine marketing technology and services, released its quarterly report based an analysis of 92 billion impressions and 600 million clicks across a portion of its customers.

'Despite the economic downturn and reports of the erosion of other marketing channels in 2008, the index of Efficient Frontier customers included in the Q4 report saw a minimal 8 percent decrease year-over-year, while the retail sector saw a 9 percent uptick in spending year-over-year, an indication of the strength of the search marketing channel,' the company said."

Google Drive Rumors Flare Up Again

from ReadWriteWeb:
"For years people have speculated that Google would use some of its incredible capacity to offer dedicated online data storage, something like a 'Google Drive.' Hints that such a project is in the works have popped up time and again, but some interesting new ones have emerged lately.

Why would you like a Google Drive service? For the presumably very low price point (free?), for the ease of backing up important data or for the potential integration of stored data into other powerful Google services? There's lots of reasons to perk up your ears when rumors like this pop up.

Greg Sterling sums up the latest rumors on Search Engine Land this morning. He points to two other recent stories that offer hope that GDrive is real."

T-Mobile Android in Europe

From Talk Android
"Over the coming weeks T-Mobile's G1 Android phone will be released across several more European Countries.

The G1 will be made available to T-Mobile customers across The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Austria by January 30th. With the G1 launching across Germany on February 2nd, followed by Poland later in the month.

In Germany the G1 phone will sell for 1 euro ($1.33) in combination with a two-year contract with T-Mobile, or can be bought for 450 euros without a plan."

Google Knol six months later: Wikipedia need not worry

read at ars technica
"What happened to Knol? Announced by Google in late 2007 and launched in July 2008, the site was meant to bring more credible (read: not written by anonymous Wikipedians) 'knowledge units' to the web, and it would allow the authors to cash in on their work. But it's 2009, and Knol appears to be notable largely for its non-notability.

First, the good news. Knol users have already published more than 100,000 pieces of knowledge and the project has a (shockingly) quick schedule of incremental releases. According to the Knolologists of Google, 'people visit Knol from 197 countries and territories on an average day, from the Aland Islands and Antarctica to Zambia and Zimbabwe.'"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wal-Mart Mexico Inaugurates Largest Sun-Operated Photovoltaic Installation in Latin America

read more at CSR wire
"AGUASCALIENTES, AGS. - January 19, 2009 - Wal-Mart Mexico successfully concluded the installation of a photovoltaic complex that will generate 20% of the energy used by Bodega Aurrera Aguascalientes. Over 1,056 solar panels that were set up on the roof of the store will transform sun energy into electricity. The project, with 174 kW installed, is the largest photovoltaic complex in Latin America, according to ANES (the Mexican Solar Energy Association), and will eliminate the emission of some 140 tons of CO2. ANES gave an award to Wal-Mart Mexico as recognition for this project."

Microsoft: Google Apps No Threat (MSFT, GOOG)

read at
"We agree with Alex that Microsoft still has an incredible lead over Google in distribution and features. We also agree Google will have a devil of a time trying to make real money off Google Apps.

But that's Google's problem. The problem for Microsoft remains they're trying to charge a lot of money for a product that hasn't significantly changed in over ten years, while Google has something 90% as good (and getting better) that's free."

Salesforce Offers Pricing For Cloud-Computing Services -- Cloud Computing -- InformationWeek

read more at InformationWeek
"In addition, Salesforce offers customers access to Google's App Engine, which provides access to the search engine's spreadsheet, presentation, word processing, Web mail, and other applications."