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ONLINE BUSINESS

Hey Google, What Should I Wear?

Search giant launches haute new site. Plus, surprising top countries for entrepreneurship and the rest of the day's news.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:

Google's haute new site. This morning Google launched its newest, and perhaps most unlikely, venture to date: Boutiques.com. The site is a place for designers, celebrities, and consumers to explore—and purchase—each other's styles. The site also uses "visual search technlogy" to determine, in algorithms, what actually looks good together on you; helpful, indeed, if not a bit creepy. The technology was created by Like.com, which Google purchased last year  (that's the company that developed Covet.com and Couturious.com before the acquisition). The New York Times reported the story and noted that "you can shop in the style of, say, the actress Carey Mulligan or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen—among the celebrities who signed up for the launch—or you can build your own boutique and amass followers who can comment on your taste."

Where in the world...? Looking for an international home for your company? Well, there's Peru, the country with the largest share of female business owners. Or Israel, where venture capital funding is best. But all things considered, a recent survey ranks Denmark above both those new-business powerhouses. But be sure to steer clear of the Netherlands (the country that costs the most to start a business) and Suriname (where it takes an average of 694 days to clear government registration for a business). These stats come from a recent SBA survey printed in The Wall Street Journal. The survey reveals some glaring differences between starting a business in the States and starting a business abroad. In Zimbabwe, the story reports, "entrepreneurs will have to fork over about 500 percent of the country's average per-capita income in government fees." Kind of makes you want to count your blessings.

Long live the IPO. With the news that travel-search site Kayak just filed an S-1 statement to propose an initial public offering, Inc. senior writer Max Chafkin writes that the IPO might not be as dead as people think. And Kayak's hoping to raise $50 million, the filing says.

How National Entrepreneurs Day was born. With President Obama issuing a proclamation on Monday officially declaring November 19 National Entrepreneurs Day, you may want to take a quick minute to say thanks to the entrepreneurs who made it possible. As longtime Inc. contributor Donna Fenn explains in BNET, the idea behind Entrepreneurs Day was largely the work of David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos of the virtual phone service company Grasshopper Group. The pair launched a Twitter petition to convince President Obama to create a day recognizing the value of entrepreneurs, eventually landing the support of such big names as Matt Mullenweg and Jason Fried. Entrepreneurs: Check out the article for a list of some of the ways you can celebrate your newly-created special day.

Up close with Zillow.com's CEO. In an interview with the Washington, D.C., real estate blog UrbanTurf, Spencer Rascoff, CEO of the online real estate database and marketplace Zillow, opens up about the role mobile technology is playing in transforming real estate as well as the algorithm behind the Zestimate, his company's tool that estimates the current value of millions of homes nationwide. Rascoff says that on weekends, 20 percent of Zillow's total traffic comes from its mobile app. "What that means for the industry is that it's more important than ever to respond quickly to consumers," he says.

Buffett bailout backlash. Wasn't it refreshing to see Warren Buffett having written a New York Times op-ed yesterday praising Uncle Sam for working a little magic and bailing out an impossibly musty U.S. housing market via the banking system? He sounded quite genuine: "Well, Uncle Sam, you delivered. People will second-guess your specific decisions; you can always count on that. But just as there is a fog of war, there is a fog of panic - and, overall, your actions were remarkably effective." The collective "ahh..." didn't last long. After Buffett, the CEO of diversified holding company Berkshire Hathaway, expressed his thanks, the backlash bubbled up almost immediately. MarketWatch, for instance, wrote that the op-ed "misses the mark" (headline: "thanks for nothing").

Layoffs incite violence in India. A mob of 400 workers allegedly used iron rods and other factory equipment to beat an auto company executive to death this past weekend, the Indian Express reports. Yesterday Business Insider picked up the story in which the workers reportedly "attacked and chased the human resources and those on the board of directors" in protest of layoffs of their former co-workers. The execs, however, were armed with guns to defend themselves, which they then fired into the air once the attack started. "This infuriated the workers, who then went on a rampage, manhandling the officers," said a senior police officer. The police have arrested ten so far but have largely sided with the workers, saying that the gun shots were the reason the employees, "already seething with anger," turned violent.

Regulation a top issue at CEO council. The Obama administration's overture to the business community met a cool reception yesterday at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington. Administration officials, still smarting from the midterm elections, were grilled by 100 corporate leaders on issues ranging from business tax rates to new environmental rules, the Journal reports. Chief among their concerns: the administration's regulatory agenda. "If I were Congress and the president, very seriously what I would do is I'd say, '... I'm going to take the next year and we're just going to review them all, and any of them that don't support jobs" will be modified or rescinded," said Arch Coal CEO Steven Leer.

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Last updated: Nov 17, 2010




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