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Local version of YouTube… Free software vending machine… Jobseekers deaf to green criteria… Job enviro-perks

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Google launches local YouTube

YouTube, which has three million Australian users, yesterday launched an Australian version. Google has done content partnership deals with Australian media organisations Network Ten, ABC, Seven, Sky News, Southern Cross’s Comet TV and Fairfax Media.

The local partners are not paying fees to host sites on the platform, but there is an expectation they will enter into revenue-sharing agreements in the future.

What’s the local difference? The website will push Australian-made clips listed in the “featured videos” and “promoted videos” sections on the youtube.com.au front page.

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Free computing for the masses

There is plenty of free software available online, but to get at it you need to have a reliable internet connection – something that’s not always available in developing countries. That’s where the Freedom Toaster comes in.

According to Springwise, the Freedom Toaster is like a vending machine for free software. Users simply insert a CD, follow instructions on a touch-screen monitor and out pops a copy of free software such as Linux, loaded on to the CD by the unit’s internal CD burner.

Since copies of the software come from the machine’s own hard drive, the Toaster is able to provide the software without having to rely on potentially dodgy internet connections.

Springwise reports that the Freedom Toaster is now in libraries across South Africa, where people can access not only shareware like Linux but also e-books and free applications for Windows. Since thousands of open source programs exist, the Freedom Toaster’s usefulness is likely to grow over time, as consumers become accustomed to the notion of alternatives to Windows.

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The only “green” employees care about is the kind in their pockets

Environmental sensitivity is well down the list of things potential employees look for when considering if they will accept a job, according to a JobFox survey of US workers reported by Inc.com.

The survey found that just 5% of respondents would go out of their way to work for an environmentally friendly business. In fact, of 20 possible factors that influence why a candidate would take a job, green sensitivity ranked near the bottom at number 18.

According to the survey, the top two priorities for job seekers are advancement opportunities, selected by 55%, and more leadership responsibility, a priority for 41%. Work/life balance, leadership that is respected or admired, and a sense of accomplishment were other high-ranking factors.

“I think what it’s saying is that people will take environmentalism if it’s a free good,” Rob McGovern, founder and CEO of JobFox, told Inc.com. “Will people pay more for it or make a career sacrifice for it? We’re not seeing that.”

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Companies encouraging employees to go green

A growing number of Australian companies such as St George Bank and EDS are offering employees incentives to live more environmentally friendly lives, both at home and at work.

St George Bank offers its workers interest-free loans for water tanks, public transport passes and environmentally-friendly appliances, and EDS allows its employees to offset their carbon emissions by paying into a tree-planting program. Employee contributions to the program are matched by EDS.

Employees at Energy Australia have received free packs of energy-efficient light bulbs, shower-timers and a 12% discount on the company’s Pure Energy green-power product, while Origin Energy staff can salary sacrifice any electricity or gas bills they get from the company – and have, as an extra carrot for signing up, the possibility of winning a holiday in central Australia.

Transurban buys yearly tickets on public transport for its employees, who have the next 12 months to pay the money back.

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