Amazon Posts Strong Q4 Results

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

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

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

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

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.