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  • Steven Woda

Daily Roundup for 2008-03-01

Google is launching Web-based collaboration software that aims to make it easy for groups to share and edit materials such as documents, photos, video and spreadsheets on a single site. Easy enough, Google hopes, to make selling software applications to enterprises a bit harder for the likes of IBM and Microsoft.

It’s called "Google hacking" – a slick data-mining technique used by the Internet’s cops and crooks alike to unearth sensitive material mistakenly posted to public Web sites. And it’s just gotten easier, thanks to a program that automates what has typically been painstaking manual labor. The program’s authors say they hope it will "screw a large Internet search engine and make the Web a safer place."

Internet usage is becoming a daily habit in the US. Although growth has slowed to the low single digits in recent years—projected to be just 3.1% in 2008—US Internet users can be counted in the hundreds of millions. eMarketer projects that this year there will be 193.9 million US Internet users—about two-thirds of the population.

Brand marketers measuring their display ad performance might not want to rely very heavily on click-through. Most display ad clicks come from a very small group of consumers, according to “Natural Born Clickers,” a report by Starcom USA, Tacoda and comScore. The heavy clickers surveyed represented just 6% of the online population, but made one-half of all display ad clicks.

Google, already the world’s most popular spot for finding Web sites, is aiming to become the go-to place for creating Web sites too. The Mountain View-based company is taking its first step toward that goal Thursday with the debut of a free service designed for high-tech neophytes looking for a simple way to share information with other people working in the same company or attending the same class in school.

HiveLive (covered previously, but significantly evolved since then) announced 5.6M in new funding from GroTech Capital and existing investors today. It was fun to watch John Kembel start off his pitch today with “Well, some stuff has changed since two months ago when we started preparing for VCIR, and now we’re done (fund raising)!” Previously, the company had raised $2.2M from angel investors.

Given the success of social-networking sites, it’s no surprise that company executives in more conventional industries are looking to reach out to their customers using some of the slick features that have made the likes of Facebook so popular. That’s the premise behind HiveLive, which on Wednesday closed a $5.6 million first round of venture funding to help grow its business-focused social-networking software. Grotech Capital Group led the round, which brings HiveLive’s total funding to $7.8 million, and Grotech Partner Joseph Zell will join the startup’s board of directors.

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