Tech wrap: Facebook cashes in on ads

September 7, 2011

Facebook’s first-half revenue roughly doubled to $1.6 billion, underscoring the world’s largest social network’s appeal to advertisers, a source with knowledge of its financials told Reuters. Net income in the first half of 2011 came to almost $500 million, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous because privately-held Facebook does not disclose its results. Facebook’s stronger results come as investors have pushed its valuation to roughly $80 billion in private markets, with many industry observers expecting the world’s No. 1 Internet social network to go public in 2012.

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock fired CEO Carol Bartz over the phone on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous tenure marked by stagnation and a rift with Chinese partner Alibaba. CFO Tim Morse will step in as interim CEO, and the company will search for a permanent leader to spearhead a battle in online advertising and content with rivals Google and Facebook. Some analysts said Bartz’s departure signaled the company had run out of options after failing to dominate the advertising and content markets and handing over its search operations to Microsoft.

Best Buy said it will offer products online from other sellers through a new third-party Marketplace as the electronics retailer tries to better compete with Internet rivals and eBay. Best Buy Marketplace will add roughly one-third more products online in time for the holiday shopping rush., Mambate, SF Planet, ANT Online, and Wayfair are the third-party sellers that signed up for the launch.

Browsing, or aimless navigation by subject or genre that brings you to something unexpected, yet ultimately rewarding, is not well-supported by the search-based or social methods of information discovery that dominate the Web today, Trapit’s Laura Larsell argues. Searching dominates. But most of the time, people don’t have solid ideas of what they really want to find. What’s needed are techniques to more easily group like content, such as the content discovery, personalization and curation platform that Larsell is helping develop, she adds.

An uninspired photo of a plate of sushi discovered by PocketNow may have been captured by Apple’s soon-to-be-unveiled iPhone, according to data the site recovered from the image. The data indicated that an iPhone 4 took the pic. But the image was too big and the aperture of the lens too wide to have been captured by that phone, PocketNow wrote. A flurry of sleuthing ensued online, with multiple theories as to the authenticity of the data proliferating and even image-bending that revealed what looked like hands holding the device responsible for the replication of raw fish on a white plate.

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