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BranchOut wants to bring LinkedIn-style business networking to Facebook using an application that pulls information from your friends’ profiles about what companies they work for, along with any other business-related details. Should LinkedIn be afraid of this new competitor? Yes and no. Read more »

A new survey has ranked Facebook lower than both the airline industry and the cable television business when it comes to customer satisfaction. ForeSee Results said that Facebook got the second-lowest score out of more than 200 companies in the survey, just ahead of MySpace. Read more »

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Estimates are that a paywall at the Times of London has led to a drop of 65 percent in online readership. But owner Rupert Murdoch may not care, because the wall is as much about keeping existing print readers in as keeping new web readers out. Read more »

As Twitter has continued to grow, the company has been facing increasing pressure to monetize that user base. The latest attempt to do this — a special account called @earlybird that promotes discount offers — differs from Twitter’s other monetization efforts in an interesting way. Read more »

Foursquare is in talks with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft about deals involving the service’s location-based checkin data, CEO Dennis Crowley told The Telegraph. None of the search providers have confirmed this, but such deals would make sense given their interest in making their results more real-time. Read more »

Just two weeks after launching a new version of its Google News site with additional personalization features, the web giant has changed the design in response to complaints from users, giving them the option to revert to a design more like the old version. Read more »

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BillFloat, a startup that wants to pay your bills in order to give you more time to come up with a payment, launched officially today. The company also announced a $4.5 million Series A funding round from First Round Capital with participation from Venrock and PayPal. Read more »

Squarespace, a hosted-content publishing service that competes with companies such as WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous, has closed a $38-million financing round from Accel Partners and Index Ventures. The investment — the company’s first — could ratchet up the level of competition in the online publishing industry. Read more »

Newspapers are in a tough spot, with circulation flat or declining and advertising revenue looking weak. So how can they become more efficient? The chief technology officer of the Telegraph Media Group says more papers should take a cue from startups and make use of cloud-computing services. Read more »

Facebook has agreed to allow British users to install a “panic button” application that will allow younger users to report harassment or abuse to a child protection agency. British police forces and child advocacy groups have been pressuring the site for months to allow the application. Read more »

Google has invested $100 million or more in game developer Zynga, the company behind popular Facebook games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars, according to a news report. The web giant is said to be planning to launch a gaming platform to be called Google Games. Read more »

Among the announcements at Twitter’s first “Chirp” conference was the launch of a new feature called Annotations. But unlike some of the other features announced there, Annotations aren’t so much a product as a substantial rethinking of the way the service functions on a fundamental level. Read more »

The Chinese government has renewed Google’s license to operate in that country after the search giant changed the way it handles visitors to the Chinese version of its website. But despite the renewal, the tension between Google and the Chinese government seems unlikely to disappear completely. Read more »

Twitter has claimed the job of another journalist, this time a CNN editor who expressed sadness over the death of a Hezbollah cleric. Her departure is the latest sign of the how traditional media continues to struggle with social networks and their impact on journalistic objectivity. Read more »

Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the massively multiplayer — and massively popular — online game World of Warcraft, has touched off a firestorm of controversy in the gaming community by requiring that users divulge their real-world identities when they post comments in the company’s WoW forums. Read more »

The Pirate Bay, the file-sharing network based in Sweden, has apparently been hacked by a trio of Argentinian programmers. The group claims to have downloaded the site’s entire user database, including the names, IP addresses and email addresses of the network’s 4 million registered users. Read more »

Sam Lessin, founder of media startup, is shutting down his blog and has started a subscription email newsletter, much like the one Weblogs Inc. founder Jason Calacanis started in 2008. Lessin has also started a service called to allow others to follow his example. Read more »

For more than a year, Digg has been working on a major redesign of the site, one that makes the social features of the site much more obvious. But the new look could actually make it harder for Digg to stand apart from the social crowd. Read more »

The European Union’s new Digital Agenda, which is designed to improve access to technology, could force companies such as Apple to open up their businesses by requiring them to offer interoperability and open standards, even if they are not the dominant player in a market. Read more »

Google is now offering the ability to track an entire team’s progress through the three weeks of the legendary Tour de France cycling race. The HTC-Columbia team is using Android phones and an application called MyTracks to provide real-time location, elevation, speed and heart rate data. Read more »

Many Twitter users say they rely on the social network and their community of followers for links to news stories rather than a newspaper. A Swiss startup has turned that idea into a service called, which turns links shared by your network into a newspaper. Read more »

Is the Internet a positive force in your life or a negative one? Most of the technology experts and commentators surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said it was positive, and that they believe it will continue to be so. Read more »

The Guardian newspaper in Britain has launched a plugin for the blog-publishing tool Wordpress that allows websites to embed the full text of Guardian news stories for free, provided they also embed the newspaper’s advertising. It is the latest step in the company’s open platform strategy. Read more »

Google says it has signed an agreement to acquire travel-information company ITA Software for $700-million, in a deal that has been widely rumored for some time. Other travel services such as Kayak and Microsoft’s Bing Travel use ITA’s data, and the deal could face anti-trust scrutiny. Read more »

Google’s latest attempt to get more social is a redesign of Google News that adds a number of features, including the ability to share clusters of stories, and to vote on news sources. But is that what visitors to Google News really want from the service? Read more »

Google says its search services have been partially blocked in China, as it waits for a decision on whether its licence to operate there will be renewed or not. The company has now tried several times to find a way of remaining in China while still refusing to filter its search results. All of which raises an obvious question: Why doesn’t Google just leave China altogether? Read more »

Google has had to change the way its Chinese website operates, after the government there threatened to remove the company’s licence. But one expert in China says the real problem is Google’s competitor, Baidu, and the fact that its ongoing censorship is backed by U.S. investors. Read more »

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