Google shuts Lively - New GnR album on Myspace - Yahoo needs an Editor - PC mag shuts - Amazon Ad network - Themes hit Gmail

Google to Shutter "Lively" Virtual World Experiment 
Google has decided to shutter its Lively online virtual world at the end of the year, saying it wants "to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business." Lively was launched as a Google Labs project in July because the company said it "wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways."

Chinese Democracy, the first new Guns N' Roses album since 1991, debuts tonight at 9 PM PST exclusively on MySpace Music, where fans can listen to it for free. Well, actually it debuted on BitTorrent a while ago, but we're not talking about that. Also, the band has previously released two songs, Chinese Democracy and Better, to radio stations and music sites in the past couple of weeks. 

With no muddling broadcast news network to support, CNN's Jonathan Klein is free to spend the network's $1.1 billion in revenue on ...  whatever he wants! The network sponsored seven debates, signed up a roster of all-star political pundits and unleashed an array of new audio-visual technology, some from military defense contractors. "When you have the wind at your back in the form of a very profitable streak, you've got to try things, to embrace innovation, to not cringe," says Jonathan Klein, CNN president. This year the network has racked up double-digit profit growth for the fifth straight year, bringing in more than $1.1 billion in revenue. Sure, 2008 has been a boom year for all the major cable news networks. But CNN is unfettered, unlike, say, MSNBC, which is tied to the sinking fortunes of a broadcast news division. Klein can reinvest its bounty back into its news coverage and whatever else seems appealing.

The New York Times' Saul Hansell argues that Yahoo really needs an editor-in-chief in the mold of a Clay Felker (former editor of New York Magazine) or a Tina Fey (actor/writer/producer of "30 Rock"). "I mean the sort of imperial editor who has a vision of how to create an environment that lures in both readers and advertisers," Hansell said. Also read Should Yahoo return to Media 

Revenues for the organization behind the open-source Firefox browser were up 12 percent to $75 million, with search-related royalties from Google accounting for 88 percent of the total, or $66 million. (Another $2 million or so came from other search engines). Those revenues come from Mozilla's portion of the search advertising revenues generated by the default Google search box in the Firefox browser.

PC Magazine, Ziff Davis' flagship print publication, has announced that it will go 100% digital. The January 2008 issue will mark the end of PC Magazine's print edition after 27 years of continuous publication. Instead of the print version, PC Magazine will start publishing a digital version of the magazine, 'PC Magazine Digital Edition.' Current and new subscribers should see this digital edition appear in their inboxes by February 2009.

The online retailer has created a separate advertising company called Adzinia Media Group LLC, complete with a logo reminiscent of Amazon's own.In September trademark filings with the U.S. Patent Office, Adzinia lists a broad array of services, including placing ads on websites; promoting goods and services through search engine referral traffic analysis; designing and implementing network web sites; web design; and data mining.Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith confirmed that Adzinia is a separate company that "sells online display and email advertising products to advertisers" and said it has been around for almost a year.

A tiny check-mark box on Verizon's text-messaging screen has taken on new sorts of meaning in the last month. For one thing, it's removal sparked a customer outcry. And for another, it has demonstrated a hole in Verizon's customer data system. In unusually candid comments at the recent Association of National Advertisers' conference, Verizon SVP of Marketing & Digital Media John Harrobin described how the wireless carrier accidentally discovered a major brand differentiator it had long overlooked.

Google is rolling out colors and themes for Gmail users this week, according to the company's blog on Wednesday. There are 30 themes to choose--including Tree, Beach, Mountains and Ninja. To customize the Gmail inbox, users go to the "themes" tab under "settings." Users will find a variety of colors and patterns that change based on their ZIP code. 

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