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Facebook knocked Google off the top spot last week to become the most visited site in the US in the last 7 days

Research company Hitwise has revealed that Facebook overtook Google and picked up the accolade of most visited website of the week in the US.

This is the first time Facebook have achieved this feat. According to the research from Hitwise, the week ending March 13th saw Facebook account for 7.07% of the visits during that week in comparison to Google’s 7.03% share.

Facebook, which is now the world’s biggest social networking site, also had other good news to share. Figures revealed recently showed that the amount of visits to Facebook has tripled over the past 12 months, whereas Google has seen a 9% increase.

Since its formation back in 2004, Facebook has enjoyed healthy growth. However the recent surge in visits is likely to be down to some canny moves on behalf of the bosses at Facebook. Now it’s easier than ever for users to access their account, and with the development of mobile phone technology which allows members to use Facebook on the move, the social networking site is reaping the benefits.

Not ones to take defeat lying down, Google have swung into action and have also developed a social networking arm to work in conjunction with their Gmail service. The feature was launched last month and it allows users to upload photos, share comments, and access YouTube videos.

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It’s been reported that a number of Yahoo! accounts belonging to journalists and those involved in activist groups related to China have been hacked into over the last month.

The news comes just days after Google announced it is planning to remove its Chinese language search services from China because of a spate of cyber-attacks and concerns over censorship. Google has now redirected its search engine enquiries offshore to the freer Chinese territory of Hong Kong.

Some journalists and an analyst have reported not being able to access their accounts for several weeks. When they tried to log-in, they were faced with a message which told them to contact Yahoo! as a problem had been detected with their account. When access had been regained, many have noticed that their accounts have been set to forward onto another unknown account.

Exile group World Uygur Congress say their Yahoo! account has been inaccessible for over a month. A spokesperson for the group says the organisation believes information from its account has been downloaded.

Yahoo engineers restored the access of one of the journalist’s accounts, but couldn’t confirm if the other problems affecting the accounts of the other journalists was related.

It’s not known whether Yahoo will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the problems affecting Yahoo accounts of selected individuals in China.

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Microsoft has revealed plans to revamp its Hotmail service in order to keep up with the rapid growth of rival email provider Gmail.

In the past Microsoft have increased email storage on their Hotmail service in an attempt to outdo Gmail which continues to grow in popularity. However this time round, Microsoft has some highly sophisticated plans up its sleeve as it prepares to launch a string of new features for its hotmail users.

The first new facility Microsoft has planned is to link its search engine Bing to Hotmail emails, plus links to Silver Light media player, and Sky Drive online store. The idea behind the new additions is to allow Hotmail users to do everything within their inbox without opening additional tabs. The changes to Hotmail should come into play by the middle of the summer, although there’s no set date as yet.

The alterations to the email server will also enable users to view picture galleries inside emails and exchange pictures, videos, documents and all sorts of files within the body of the email so as to do away with the use of space consuming attachments.

New filters will also be introduced which aim to cut down on nuisance spam mail. The facility will allow users to delete all emails from specific addresses and enable them to opt out of receiving further mail from a certain address.

Microsoft’s Hotmail is still the world’s largest email provider with 360 million users worldwide compared to Gmail’s 50 million users. However it seems Hotmail isn’t content to rest their laurels and hope the developments planned for their email service will further strengthen their position as the number one email provider.

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Demand for Skype’s new 3G iPhone app is extremely high with the company reporting 5 million downloads in just 4 days.

Prior to the release of the new app, iPhone users could only use Skype services to video and voice call other members when they had a Wi-Fi connection. But now, thanks to the latest application, Skype members can access all of the communication services while on the move.

Skype have confirmed the astonishing figure of 5 million downloads in 4 days, adding that a portion of this figure has come from upgrades, which explains why the app isn’t riding on the iTunes most popular free app list. A Skype spokesperson described the response to the new app as “really positive” and said they’d received a good mix of download requests from their key areas in Europe, North America and also Asia Pacific.

The overwhelming reaction to the new 3G app is extremely encouraging for Skype bosses as the network plans to start charging a small monthly fee from next year for the 3G service. The 5 million downloads in 4 days proves there is a huge demand for the service justifying Skype’s plans to start charging for the service.

Apple are due to announce a new iPhone later this month, and Skype are expected to introduce a facility to support the forthcoming release as well.

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Facebook’s meteoric rise in global popularity shows no signs of faltering, as the social networking site has just announced it currently boasts 500 million active members.

With 500 million active monthly users operating on the site across the world, many experts and also the founder of the network, Mark Zuckerberg, believe it’s only a matter of time before Facebook hits the 1 billion mark.

26 year old Zuckerberg, who launched the social networking site back in 2004 with a bunch of classmates from Harvard, believes it is “almost a guarantee” that Facebook will achieve 1 billion members in the future. This would equate to 1 in every 7 people in the world being signed up to Facebook.

A feature called Facebook Stories has been set up to celebrate reaching the impressive milestone. Members are encouraged to come forward to share their stories of how Facebook has affected their lives since and allowed them to keep in touch with the people who matter the most.

Since its launch in 2004 it took 5 years for Facebook to achieve 250 million users, however in the space of the last 12 months, that figure has doubled. If Facebook continues to grow at this pace, the possibility of the social network reaching 1 billion users in 2011 is very real.

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Lady Ga Ga this week triumphed over former number one Twitterer Britney Spears to become the Queen of Twitter. The Bad Romance singer topped Britney’s 5,703,000 followers with her 5,741,000 devoted followers on the micro blogging site Twitter.

To mark her achievement of reaching the highest number of followers on the popular social network, Lady Ga Ga posted a video on YouTube thanking her fans for their support in getting her to the number one spot. Wearing a white lace hat with the Twitter logo branded on the front, the pop star introduced herself as “The Queen of Twitter”, and vowed to “always tweet and tweet again.”

Britney held the title of most followed Twitter member for three months after taking over from Ashton Kutcher. However Lady Ga Ga may have some competition on her hands as teen pop singer Justin Beiber is currently the fastest growing Twitter star with an average of 800,000 people a month signing up to follow the Canadian singer on the micro blogging website.

However Lady Ga Ga’s weekly intake of followers is pretty healthy as well with the New York born singer collecting 171,000 new followers on average every week on Twitter.

The 24-year-old singer is currently on tour in North America where she is performing her hugely successful Monster Ball Tour.

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Microsoft are set to experiment with a new rewards scheme. By simply using Bing services, the new system will allow users to build up credit which can then be spent on a wide range of products from DVDs to cookware.

In July Microsoft announced the end of its cash back scheme which offered rebates on products which users searched for using the Bing search engine.

Although their first attempt at offering customer rewards got off to a shaky start, Microsoft are preparing to trial their latest system straight away.

Users who want to try out the new rewards scheme need to download the Bing Bar and sign up to the Bing Rewards Program. The Bing Bar will alert users to new features and offers, as well as keeping members updated on the amount of credit they’ve collected.

Credit can be obtained through a variety of ways. Setting Bing as the users default search engine will earn credits, as will experimenting with new Bing features, and also searching via Bing.

The Bing Rewards Program allows users to exchange their credits for a wide range of products including DVDs, luggage, digital cameras, restaurant gift certificates, and also charity donations.

Initially the rewards scheme will only be available in the US, although if it’s a success it could be rolled out across other parts of the world.

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According to recent reports, social networking site Facebook and internet communication network Skype are extremely close to striking a deal.

The two organisations are leaders in their own fields with Facebook boasting 500 million users worldwide while Skype claims to have 560 million members across the globe. The pairing of the two networks would create a powerful tool which will pile the pressure on other competitors such as Twitter and Google.

Skype allows members to video call, text and voice call other members across the world for free via its website. As well as this, Skype also offers a paid for service whereby users can call landlines across the world for a far cheaper rate than traditional telecom providers.

Should the deal be made, the move would enable Facebook users to use Skype services such as video call, text and voice call to communicate with friends on their account via their page, adding yet another exciting facility to the Facebook’s repertoire.

The move is mutually rewarding as Skype users will gain access to Facebook Connect, the social networking site’s message service.

The deal between Skype and Facebook is by no means official, however should everything go to plan, insiders say an announcement should be made by mid October.

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Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams has announced his plans to step down to allow another colleague to come forward to steer the company during its new phase.
Williams is the second Twitter CEO to step down after two years in the job. The Twitter co-founder is not leaving the company, he will instead be taking up a role in the organisation focusing on product development.
Dick Costolo has been named as the new CEO at Twitter. Costolo received a place on the board back in 2007 when he invested $5 million in the company. A year ago he took on the role of chief operating officer. Before Costolo became involved with Twitter he was the Chief Executive of Feedburner before it was sold to Google.
Twitter’s online audience has seen rapid growth during the time Evan Williams has headed up the company. When Williams took over as CEO in 2008 Twitter had 3 million registered users, two years on that figure now stands at 160 million.
Twitter is currently free to users, however the social networking site has struck deals with Google and Bing in recent times whereby tweets related to search enquiries appear in results lists. Another means by which Twitter are able to generate revenue is via a new system of promoted tweets where companies can pay to advertise on the popular social network. The change of CEO is part of the company’s strategy to focus more on generating revenue from the micro blogging site.

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Frequent Facebook users who are continually updating their statuses with dull and trivial statements are most at risk of being deleted by their online mates, a new study has revealed.

Telling the world what you had for dinner, or how much you love your boyfriend for the millionth time is the biggest turn off for Facebook friends. The research was conducted by the University of Colorado where 1,500 Facebook accounts were used as part of the study.

Being dull topped the poll of reason people unfriend Facebook budies on the social networking site which boasts 500 million users worldwide, and 27 million in the UK alone.

Other popular reasons for dumping friends in the virtual world include break-ups between couples in the real world, and children deleting their parents to prevent them from prying in on their online lives. Being racist, crude, or posting very opinionated remarks about politics or religion is also a big no-no on Facebook.

The study found that 57% of people deleted friends off their Facebook because of something they did online, while 27% de-friended them because of an event which occurred in the real world.

The practice of deleting people as a friend on a social network site even has an official name thanks to the New Oxford American Dictionary which named “unfriend” its Word of the Year in 2009.