A lot to chew on today. Here are some things that have caught our eye:

Bill Gross, founder of the Idealab incubator, is riding pretty high these days. He’s got a new search engine called Snap, he recently sold Picasa to Google, and yesterday we find out that another company that Idealab incubated, X1 Technologies, is helping Yahoo develop its desktop search tool. Tony Gentile reminds us that it wasn’t long ago that a dark cloud hung over Gross and his company.

Danny Sullivan seems to suggest deep in this blog posting that Copernic will power AOL’s desktop search tool. We can’t wait to see what Ask Jeeves has to offer next week. (via Andy Beal) UPDATE: Copernic CEO David Burns tells us he can’t confirm whether his company will power AOL’s desktop search, in part because Copernic is being acquired by Mamma.com, which is in the “due dilligence” phase of the deal. “Danny saw what he saw,” Burns said. “That’s a fact. As to what it means potentially, I can’t comment.” But he added, “We’ve closed some deals with major portals and and we’ll be closing more of them.” In fact, Copernic’s long-term strategy is less about direct sales to consumers and more about “private label distribution” of its technology through business partners.

PayPal tells us that Apple’s iTunes store now accepts PayPal payments, further mainstreaming that type of transaction. The Rueters story is here.

Google is testing a new auto-complete, query-refinement function in its labs. It’s called Google Suggest, and it “suggests queries as a user types what he or she is looking for into the search box,” according to Google. The full announcement is in the extended entry.

And finally, regarding the Google item Matt posted below, is there any doubt now that Google’s serious about wanting to “organize the world’s information?” In fact, look for more news on that front on Monday.

The Google Suggest announcement:

In our ongoing effort to create innovative technologies that enable
users to search more of the world’s information, Google today released
an experimental search service on Google Labs called Google Suggest.
This new web search service suggests queries as a user types what he
or she is looking for into the search box. By offering more refined
searches up front, Google Suggest can make searching more convenient
and efficient, because it eliminates the need to type the entire text
of a query. In addition, the service can connect users with new query
suggestions that are useful, intriguing, and fun.

Google Suggest is similar to Google’s “Did you mean?” feature, which
offers users alternative spellings for a query. But, Google Suggest
works as the user types in a query in real-time. For example, if a
user types “bass,” Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements
that include “bass fishing” or “bass guitar.” Similarly, if a user
types in only part of a word such as “progr,” Google Suggest will
offer query refinements such as “programming,” “programming
languages,” “progesterone,” or “progressive.”

Suggested queries are displayed in a drop-down menu below the search
field and users can scroll through and select queries using their
keyboard arrow keys. Google Suggest draws from a wide range of
information, including the aggregate popularity of Google.com
searches, to predict the queries and URLs users most likely want to
see. An example of this popularity information can be found in the
Google Zeitgeist. Google Suggest does not base its suggestions on the
searches of an individual user or searches conducted from a particular
computer or browser.

Google Suggest is available via Google Labs at
http://labs.google.com/suggest. This is an experiment, and as always,
we welcome user feedback. Questions and or suggestions can be sent to
labs+suggest@google.com.

The Google Suggest Team