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Amazon Posts Strong Q4 Results
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Amazon.com today reported strong fourth quarter profits that beat Wall Street analyst’s estimates.

The online retailer said its net income increased 71 percent to $384 million in the fourth quarter, or 85 cents per share, compared with $225 million, or 52 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Net sales increased 42 percent to $9.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $ 6.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Facebook Relays Politicians’ Views On Privacy

Politicians are perhaps not the best people to talk to about privacy; they intentionally thrust themselves into the spotlight, and can be responsible for annoying commercials and phone calls that bother the rest of us at home.  Still, Facebook arguably accomplished something today by discussing privacy with six politicians and the CEO and of the Family Online Safety Institute.

Google Announces Unicode Progress

Google’s made an announcement regarding Unicode, and believe it or not, there’s something for everyone here.  Programmers should be interested to know that Unicode is becoming more popular at a rapid pace.  Normal Google users, meanwhile, will be happy to learn that searches should now turn up additional useful results.

Bing Now Offering More Finance Information

Bing said today it has added new features to make it easier for users to search for and find financial information.

Bing says it has developed a "stock and funds pages" which covers most U.S. stocks and funds.

Motorola Making Another Direct-From-Google Phone

Although Nexus One sales estimates haven’t exactly blown everybody’s minds so far, it seems that the cell-phone-you-can-only-buy-from-Google experiment is going to continue.  Motorola’s co-CEO announced today that his company is working on device for it.

Privacy Search Engine Offers Anonymous Web Browsing
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Search engine firm Startpage, and its E.U. brand, Ixquick, has released a new proxy service that allows Internet users to surf the web in privacy.

The proxy lets users browse websites anonymously, without sharing any private, personally identifiable information to the websites they view.

When users conduct a search on Startpage they will see a clickable "proxy" option below each search result. When this option is selected, Startpage acts as a go-between to retrieve the page and display it in a privacy- protected window.

Yahoo Search Launches On Arabic-Language Site

Maktoob may not be a site with which many American search experts are familiar, and similarly, Yahoo’s name probably isn’t something Arabic-speaking individuals are used to seeing on a daily basis.  But an introduction of sorts has occurred, as Yahoo Search is now powering Maktoob, which is the largest online Arabic-language community.

Online Shoppers Have Little Patience For Slow Websites
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Online shoppers experience more website slow downs and other problems completing transactions during popular shopping periods when traffic to retail websites peaks, according to a new survey by Equation Research conducted on behalf of web performance firm Gomez.

At stake is the $1,050 that each online shopper spends annually, according to the survey, with a significant amount of spending done during these peak times.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Probes Facebook Again
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Last year, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada investigated Facebook as a result of several complaints.  Then the Privacy Commissioner made some recommendations, Facebook followed them, and all in all, both sides remained quite friendly.  Only now another probe’s been launched, and the privacy advocate sounds less patient this time.

Barnes & Noble Says It Does Not Share Data With Discount Clubs
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Barnes & Noble has acknowledged it has received a subpoena from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for information concerning an investigation into online retailers who link customers to discount clubs that charge hidden fees.

The world’s largest bookseller said it wants to stress to customers it is not one of the retailers who turns over personal or credit or debit card information to discount clubs.

Google Celebrates Data Privacy Day

Today, January 28th, is variously recognized as the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Julian’s Day.  It’s Data Privacy Day, too (or Data Protection Day in Europe), and to celebrate this last occasion, Google has published its Privacy Principles.

Ford Shows You Can Have Your Office in Your Truck
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As we discussed before, Internet-ready vehicles were one of the more interesting themes throughout the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. One vehicle in particular that WebProNews got an up-close look at was the 2011 Ford Super Duty, which the company refers to as a "contractor’s dream."

Twitter Excited About Ducking Censors
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Twitter claims not to be taking an active role in the dispute, but it’s definitely applauding developers who try to make Twitter.com available in China and Iran.  Ev Williams endorsed workarounds and rejected compromises while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

A Markup That Could Have Big Implications for SEO
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RDFa, which stands for Resource Description Framework in attributes, is a W3C recommendation, which adds a set of attribute level extensions to XHTML for embedding rich metadata within web documents. While not everyone believes that W3C standards are incredibly necessary to operate a successful site, some see a great deal of potential for search engine optimization in RDFa.

NY AG Investigating Online Discount Clubs

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said today his office is investigating 22 online businesses that deceptively link consumers to fee-based membership programs that charge unauthorized fees for discount offers.

Chrome Wins Browser Speed Test
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Two years ago, Google’s Chrome browser didn’t exist.  Now, it might be the best browser available.  New test results claim that it beats all competitors by a significant amount, at least in terms of speed.

Google Now Showing Suggestions for “Islam Is”
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Update: Google is now showing suggestions for "Islam is". They can be seen in the screenshot below.

Bing Gets Localeze To Augment Local Biz Listings
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Thanks to a new deal, Bing’s results for local businesses should soon get much better.  A report’s indicated that Localeze, which specializes in local search, is going to provide something like 14 million business listings for Bing Local and Bing 411 to use.

Personalized Suggestions On Google Maps Introduced
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People with perfect memories and/or senses of direction are excused from reading this article.  Everybody else may be pleased to know that Google’s introduced a version of personalized suggestions on Google Maps.

Can’t remember exactly what street your father’s favorite cigar shop is on?  Forget the last couple digits of a casual acquaintance’s address?  It’s in scenarios like these that Google’s now got you covered (so long as you agree to be helped).

Apple Finally Unveils Much Anticipated Tablet – the iPad
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Steve Jobs took the stage in San Francisco today to announce what he referred to as a "magical, truly revolutionary product."

After talking up Apple’s history and how many iPods they’ve sold and apps they have in the app store, Jobs began talking about the need for a product between the laptop and the smartphone – something that would be better at things like browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, and eBooks. He took a shot at netbooks saying they weren’t better than anything (knocking their speed, displays, and software), and then unveiled the iPad.

Internet Use In Hotels Up 50%

Internet use by both business and leisure guests at hotels increased more than 50 percent in 2009, according to a new report by iBAHN, an Internet service provider for 2,200 hotels globally.

Hotel guests spent 60 percent more time online and downloaded 50 percent more data, based on tracked packet and session length information. This confirms the predictions from an iBAHN- commissioned, 2009 study of business travelers conducted by Ypartnership.

Yahoo to Be Default Firefox Search Engine on Ubuntu

Rick Spencer of Canonical, which distributes the Ubuntu version of Linux, revealed that Canonical has formed a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo, which will see Yahoo become the default search engine in the Mozilla Firefox browser in the upcoming 10.04 version (aka "Lucid Lynx") of the operating system.

Yahoo Calls On Grad Students To Improve Internet

Yahoo said today it is holding its second annual Key Scientific Challenges Program, which is open globally to any graduate student enrolled in a PhD program at an accredited institution.

The Key Scientific Challenges Program focuses on a number of issues, from developing algorithms that make information more personally relevant, to finding insights about online advertising and experimenting with new sociological models for how people engage with the web.

Yahoo Halts Search For International Boss

Most estimates agree that there are almost 7 billion human beings on this planet, and even the biggest misanthropes must admit that a few of them are smart and capable.  Yahoo apparently wasn’t able to encounter any keepers, however, as it’s stopped searching for someone to lead the company’s international division.