The holiday season has not slowed down the web publishing world. In fact, they might be looking to pick up speed as the year comes to a close. From Google to Bing to YouTube, it seems that things are heating up, like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Google Acquires Teracent; Adds New Technology to Display Ads

Google is acquiring Teracent, a San Mateo startup and a display ad company. The transaction, which is subject to various closing conditions, is expected to close this quarter.

Google cites Teracent's technology as one of the reasons for its interest. Teracent can pick and choose from literally thousands of creative elements of a display ad in real-time -- tweaking images, products, messages or colors. As well, such elements can be optimized according to geographic location, language, the content of the website, the time of day or the past performance of different ads.

Google thinks that with this technology, advertisers can achieve better results from their display ad campaigns, in turn, making more money from their ad space and delivering web users better ads and more ad-funded web content.

Google vs. Murdoch vs. Bing

Rupert Murdoch is talking crazy again. This time he wants to remove his papers’ content from Google's search index, giving full access (for a fee) to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Microsoft also claims that they’ve been talking to other “big name” publishers to do the same.

There are few things awry with these scenarios. First, it’s Google. It’s not that Google can’t afford to pay Murdoch for his articles, it’s just that they know better. Second, Microsoft doesn’t have the same leverage as Google and even if they get exclusive rights to publishers’ content, it will hardly make a difference. It’s not how Google generates its revenue and it’s not how devote readers get their news from the “big time publishers.”

Critics say that this risky move would garner a loss of readership and lots of money lost for Microsoft. Afterall, Google accounts for nearly one-fifth of the average news organization’s inbound traffic. Spurning the link economy will cost News Corporation in terms of lost advertising revenue. As well, it may also slow down efforts to convert casual surfers into online subscribers.

YouTube Direct to the News

YouTube has launched YouTube Direct, which allows TV and online news editors to obtain video from citizen journalists.

While it doesn’t sound so different than CNN’s iReport, which allows users to submit their videos to the news agency, YouTube Direct will essentially be an archive of user-generated content from which news agencies can pick.

As well, they may be able to request specific topics for videos to be filmed by amateurs seeking attention.

Again, most news channels already make on-air requests for videos from their viewers, but it sounds like a more deliberate attempt to cut costs or perhaps a way to keep professional and paid videographers from covering more mundane stories so they can focus on more pressing features.

Digital Media Sponsors The Martin Adler Prize

Speaking of professional cameramen and women.

Each year, the Martin Adler Prize is awarded at the Rory Peck Awards, an international competition that celebrates the work of freelance cameramen and camerawoman in broadcast news and current affairs. It honors freelancers who have told, or played a vital part in telling, a significant news story.

This year, three freelancers from Gaza have received the prize Talal Abu Rahma, Raed Athamneh and Ashraf Mashharawi.

The Martin Adler Prize was established in 2007 in honor of the late award-winning freelance journalist, photographer and filmmaker Martin Adler.

This year, the Prize was sponsored by Atex, a leading provider of software systems and services to the global media industry. The sponsorship is refreshing, considering the current state of the news industry.

To have a digital media company, who works to deliver advertising, editorial, web content management software, involved in helping to sustain and reward those in the news industry is a great sign of things to come.