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9:05 PM ET, February 17, 2011

Techmeme

 Top Items: 
The Official Google Blog:
An update to Google Social Search  —  Today we're doing a little bit more to bring you all the goodness of Google, plus the opinions of the people you care about.  As always, we want to help you find the most relevant answers among the billions of interconnected pages on the web.
RELATED:
Matt McGee / Search Engine Land:
Google's Search Results Get More Social; Twitter As The New Facebook “Like”  —  Your friends' activity on Twitter, Flickr and elsewhere — but for now, not Facebook — will soon be a lot more visible in Google's search results, including having an impact on how pages rank.
New York Times:
Apple Is Weighing a Cheaper iPhone  —  SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has been exploring ways to broaden the appeal of the iPhone by making the popular device less expensive and allowing users to control it with voice commands.  —  But contrary to published reports, Apple is not currently developing …
RELATED:
Arn / MacRumors:   Apple Not Planning to Launch a Smaller iPhone
Popular Mechanics:
Confessions of an Apple Store Employee  —  Apple is famous for its secrecy, with a code of silence that runs from top management all the way down to its retail employees.  One Apple Store employee decided to throw protocol to the curb and tell us what it's really like working at the vaunted retail outlets.
Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac:
Confirmed: Apple To Build Biggest Store Yet In Grand Central Terminal [Exclusive]  —  Apple will be building a massive store in New York's Grand Central Terminal, we have independently confirmed.  The store will open in the fall, likely early September — and it will be Apple's largest retail space in the world.
David Sarno / L.A. Times Tech Blog:
Official list of attendees at Obama tech meeting: CEOs of Twitter, Netflix, Oracle, Yahoo, others  —  Here's the official list of attendees of Thursday evening's meeting of technology industry chiefs with President Obama in San Francisco.  It includes many of Silicon Valley's biggest names.
Greg Sterling / Search Engine Land:
Redesigned Bing Bar Toolbar More Like A “Dashboard”  —  Bing is introducing a totally redesigned version of its toolbar, called the “Bing Bar.”  Apparently it has been “rebuilt from the ground up,” says Microsoft's Stefan Weitz.  Indeed, it operates more like a kind of “dashboard” …
RELATED:
Connie Loizos / PE Hub Blog:
It's Not a Bubble, People; It's a Pyramid Scheme  —  Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about bubbles, having profited handsomely from an earlier Internet boom.  But ask him if we're seeing Bubble 2.0 and he'll give you a different theory.  —  “It's almost the 2011 version of a private equity chain letter …
Jennifer Lynch / Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Newly Released Documents Detail FBI's Plan to Expand Federal Surveillance Laws  —  EFF just received documents in response to a 2-year old FOIA request for information on the FBI's “Going Dark” program, an initiative to increase the FBI's authority in response to problems the FBI …
Discussion: paidContent
RELATED:
Neil Hughes / AppleInsider:
Apple looking to increase battery life with dense lithium cells  —  Apple is investigating techniques to increase the energy capacity of rechargeable lithium battery cells without increasing the size of the battery, allowing longer battery life in future devices.
Jan Wildeboer:
Microsoft: Absolutely NO (GPLv3-or-compat-licensed) Free Software for Windows Phone and Xbox Apps.  —  This is rather uncool, IMHO, I stumbled upon this forum entry and was quite astonished.  It points to the Microsoft Application Provider Agreement that governs the Windows Marketplace …
Peter Kafka / MediaMemo:
Spotify Signs On EMI for U.S. Launch.  At Least One More to Go...  It's getting closer: Spotify has finalized a U.S. distribution deal with EMI Music, multiple sources tell me.  —  Both EMI and Spotify declined to comment.  —  Coupled with last month's Sony deal, Spotify now has the approval …
Wall Street Journal:
Regulators Eye Apple Anew  —  Enforcers Interested in Whether Digital-Subscription Rules Stifle Competition  —  WASHINGTON—U.S. antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple Inc. set this week for media companies who want to sell their content on its popular iPad and other devices …
Discussion: 9 to 5 Mac
Leena Rao / TechCrunch:
Nordstrom Acquires Flash Sales Site HauteLook For $270 Million  —  In one of the larger exits so far in the flash sales business, retail chain Nordstrom has acquired flash sales site HauteLookfor $180 million in Nordstrom stock and three-year earn-out of up to $90 million.  HauteLook has raised $41 million in funding.
Ben Fritz / Company Town:
Redbox digital service will go toe-to-toe with Netflix  —  Redbox is gearing up to challenge Netflix head-on, the kiosk DVD rental company confirmed Wednesday.  —  At a meeting with analysts, Redbox President Mitch Lowe said his company's forthcoming digital option will be subscription-based …
John Paczkowski / Digital Daily:
Mac Growth Outpaces Market for 19th Straight Quarter  —  The Mac has been on a growth tear for a few years now, outperforming the broader PC market in most every sector.  Indeed, December 2010 marked the 19th consecutive quarter that it did so.  Mac shipments grew 23.5 percent for the month …
Sascha Segan / PC Magazine:
Skype: Expect Video Calling for AT&T  —  Now that Skype and Qik have joined, they plan to bring video calls to all four major US carriers.  —  BARCELONA—Skype's video-calling prowess will improve the quality of Qik video calls on Sprint and T-Mobile devices, and the joined company is pursuing …
Discussion: Electronista and Engadget
Bianca Bosker / The Huffington Post:
Facebook Adds ‘Civil Union,’ ‘Domestic Partnership’ To Relationship Status Options  —  Facebook has added two new relationship status options users can include in their online profiles: “in a civil union” and “in a domestic partnership.”  —  The new fields are being rolled out in the U.S …
Ken Jennings / Slate:
Jeopardy! genius Ken Jennings on what it's like to play against a supercomputer.  —  When I was selected as one of the two human players to be pitted against IBM's “Watson” supercomputer in a special man-vs.-machine Jeopardy! exhibition match, I felt honored, even heroic.
Ben Rooney / Tech Europe:
Motorola Executive Defends Tablet Price Tag … Motorola mobility chief Sanjay Jha confirmed that the company's new Xoom tablet will go on sale in the U.S. at $800, a higher price tag than current market leader Apple's iPad.  —  And in what has been described as the worst kept secret in the tech world …
Claude Brodesser-Akner / New York Magazine:
YouTube Offering Millions for Celebrity-Created Content  —  In a move designed to vastly improve the quality of its content, Google's YouTube is undertaking what's understood to be a massive bid to attract Hollywood talent — one that has agents practically leaping out of their John Lobbs …
Tricia Duryee / eMoney:
Telltale Signs That Videogames Will Be Downloaded, Not Sold at Retail  —  The business of selling plastic-wrapped videogames for $60 apiece is becoming an ancient practice, as digital downloads take over-often at lower prices.  —  But a small San Rafael, Calif.-based videogame company thinks …
Discussion: VG247, Joystiq and GoNintendo
Darryl K. Taft / eWeek:
Google Asks Patent Office for Second Opinion on Oracle's Android Claims  —  Hoping to fend off Oracle's lawsuit claiming patent infringement for certain Java patents, Google has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reexamine four of the patents.
 
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Direct listing or IPO: What's the difference?  —  What's the best way to take a company public?  Recently a few larger, well-known brands, notably Spotify and Slack, have opted for the direct listing.  Read more.
Zoho:
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What does the future of cloud computing hold  —  and what does this mean for businesses?  We looked at the data, talked to luminaries, and listened to customers across the world.  Here's what they said.
Intel:
Here's why gamers should go with a processor that has high IPC and can hit the highest frequencies  —  Adding core count for core count's sake does not create a better gaming experience
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 More Items: 
Daniel Eran Dilger / AppleInsider:
Apple nearing CDMA iPhone 4 deal with China Telecom
MG Siegler / TechCrunch:
Google Opens Developer Preview Of Chrome Web Store In 15 More Countries
Discussion: Chromium Blog and Mashable!
Tricia Duryee / eMoney:
Amazon Lets Users Buy Android Apps Before Their New Device Even Ships
Discussion: NBC Bay Area
Elias Biryaberema / Reuters:
Uganda bans SMS texting of key words during poll
Wall Street Journal:
Accel Targets $2 Billion for New Venture Funds
Discussion: SAI and PE Hub Blog
Matthew Lynley / VentureBeat:
Y Combinator founder: There is no tech bubble
Discussion: SAI and PE Hub Blog
Stacey Higginbotham / GigaOM:
Presenting Our National Broadband Map. It's a Start.
 Earlier Items: 
Michael Arrington / TechCrunch:
Benchmark Capital Bets On Super-Quiet-Stealth-Shhhh ccLoop
Farhad Manjoo / Fast Company:
Are Silicon Valley's Engineers Underpaid?
Larry Dignan / Between the Lines Blog:
IBM Watson's next adventure: Healthcare with Nuance
Matt Rosoff / SAI: Silicon Alley Insider:
Sony Exec: We Are Not Abandoning iTunes
Jay Yarow / SAI: Silicon Alley Insider:
CHART OF THE DAY: The Death Of The Music Industry
Discussion: Evolver.fm