Google posted fourth-quarter revenue of $1.29 billion excluding traffic acquisition fees paid to partners on Tuesday, in line with analyst expectations and driven by expected seasonal strength in traffic and monetization, the company said.
Gross revenues were $1.92 billion, up 86 percent from a year ago.
Earnings per share for the quarter were $1.22, or $1.54 a share excluding one-time items, compared with 71 cents a share a year ago. On that basis, analysts had been expecting earnings per share of $1.76.
NOTE: In the original posting, we incorrectly stated revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs. Corrections have been made above.
The Justice Department demanded information from at least 34 Internet service providers, search companies and security software companies as part of its probe related to the Child Online Protection Act , according to an article in InformationWeek on Thursday.
Some companies, including Cablevision Systems and Verizon, objected to the government demands, the article says. Other subpoena recipients included AT&T, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, EarthLink, Symantec and United Online, according to InformationWeek, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the information.
Google made headlines in January when it was disclosed that the search company had refused to hand over random search terms and Web address data that Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online had provided the government when asked. Google challenged the subpoena in court, arguing that it was overreaching. Earlier this month a judge ruled that Google didn't have to provide any search queries but did have to provide a much smaller number of Web sites in its index than the government had sought.
The government is seeking information on Web user behavior and filtering software and other tools in an effort to justify COPA, which faces a trial later this year. That law restricts the posting on commercial Web sites of sexually explicit material deemed "harmful to minors," unless it's made unavailable to the youngsters. The ACLU argues that Web sites cannot realistically comply with such requirements and that the law violates the right to freedom of speech mandated by the First Amendment.
Remember the old Saturday Night Live bit about Generalissimo Francisco Franco being still dead? The skit comes to mind whenever there's a twist in the Yahoo-Microsoft novella.
So it was last evening that The Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo and Google were inching even closer to a search outsourcing deal. From Yahoo's perspective, the Google angle is a great way to try and convince Microsoft to sweeten its two-month old buyout bid.
So far, Microsoft has not budged. But a Citigroup analyst earlier Thursday suggested that Microsoft shares could handle a bigger Yahoo bid. I was hoping to have more to report after the bell when Google reported its first-quarter earnings .
No such luck.
"We are very excited to be participating in this test," was Eric Schmidt's prolix response. "It's nice to be working with Yahoo and we like them very much."
Now Schmidt stopped short of peas and carrots, peanut butter and chocolate metaphors, but anyone listening to the call had to come away with distinct sense that Schmidt is getting a kick out of the whole thing. After listening to this and other memorable highlights from the afternoon conference call, maybe Google should think about tweaking its corporate mantra from "Don't be Evil" to "Bore 'em Silly."
Is Apple's Safari browser a resource hog?
That's the question posed at Macenstein, which ran tests comparing the Apple browser to the popular Firefox software .
The article's author tested his Mac by conducting a series of tasks using both browsers. He claims that the computer performed the tasks significantly slower when Safari was open, compared to when Firefox was open.
The news quickly spread among the Mac faithful, who are trying to replicate the results and figure out what is going on.
Blog community response:
"At the end of the day, no one is really sure why Apple's browser is making so many waves in the performance pool, but a healthy comment thread on the post is already hard at work. For anyone serious about Safari, here's hoping Apple is already aware of the issue and has brought their browser in line for Leopard." -- The Unofficial Apple Weblog
"1) Browsers rarely get served the same content, even on very popular sites. Without spoofing it's hard to know if Safari is being served some buggy content from one of the pages in question. A small sample set isn't enough to draw general conclusions. Try a bunch of other different Web sites and see if a slowdown still occurs. If so, then maybe there is a systemic problem. Until then, though, all we know is that something is hogging CPU in one of five Web pages. Reduce reduce reduce! Reduce the problem if possible. Cut it down to one page. Don't go back/forward ." -- Surfin' Safari
Margaret is news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. She also oversees the CNET Blog Network. E-mail Margaret .
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have scuttled an attempt to grant a temporary extension to a controversial wiretap law--that did not include retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.
By a 191-229 vote on Wednesday afternoon, the House failed to approve a bill to extend the Protect America Act for 21 days in its current form. The law--which Republicans say is necessary to allow interception of communications that transit the United States--is scheduled to expire on Saturday.
The vote, in which 34 Democrats joined the Republicans , comes hours after President Bush called for including retroactive immunity for any companies that may have violated federal privacy laws by opening their networks to the National Security Agency. Lawsuits against companies including AT&T are currently pending in federal court.
If the companies violated no laws, of course, they have nothing to worry about .
This leads to an unusual situation in which the House Democratic leadership, which has objected to retroactive immunity without learning more about what kinds of activities it would shield, has a few options:
1. Give Bush what he wants. This would mean admitting defeat and approving the immunity shield that the Senate already did on Tuesday .
2. Wait and try again. If the Republicans insist that this bill is necessary , the Democrats could hold another temporary renewal vote on Friday at 11 p.m. and dare the GOP to block this supposedly vital legislation a second time.
3. Let the Protect America Act expire. This is politically risky in an election year, of course, but the Bush administration's arguments for passing the law in the first place were based on partial, calculated leaks of secret court rulings. If the Republicans want the Protect America Act so badly, force them to negotiate on that separately from retroactive immunity--the issues really aren't linked.
And there are probably others that I haven't thought of.
It's a little unclear what's going to happen next; as I write this, the House has moved on to a not-exactly-controversial measure congratulating the New York Giants for winning the Super Bowl. We have a call into the House Majority Leader's office and will update you when we hear back.
There's been a lot of buzz over the iPhone optimized version of Facebook in the past couple of days, and with good reason--it rocks. It does nearly everything the full version of Facebook can do, sans apps from the Facebook apps platform , which I assume are on their way later this year. Everything is rolled up into a tight little package using a simplistic set of two rows of tabs to cover core navigation, and a sliding interface that mimics the iPhone's signature UI. To get there, just point your iPhone to http://iPhone.facebook.com .If your friend's listed their phone number, you'll be able to call them with the touch of a button.
Like the full version of Facebook, the iPhone iteration centers around your profile, friends, messages, and the home tab, which contains the Facebook news feed, along with any upcoming events and notifications. You can browse profiles and check out your friend's links . The real killer app though is the call option, which will pop up assuming your friend has made their phone number available. This works with e-mail addresses too, but the phone numbers basically turn Facebook into one big mobile phonebook for your friends.
There are a few things missing from the iPhone version of Facebook that I'd like to see added. The first is groups, which are mysteriously absent. Poking is also missing in action, which is unfortunate because poking on the mobile version of Facebook results in setting your friends on fire --a small but very amusing perk. There's also no way to edit your profile without logging into to the regular Web site. Lastly, the included photo galleries are really well done, but don't let you zoom in and out, nor save them to your device.
This app is a great example of what can be done to work around some of the limitations of the iPhone not having an SDK. If this were a bonafide app, things like notifications and an integrated mailbox would make great additions to the iPhone's current lineup of Web services turned apps. In the meantime, if you've got an iPhone and use Facebook, this is definitely worth bookmarking.For a mobile app, the iPhone version of Facebook is very good looking. Seen here are photo galleries, and a list of friends who are active on the service. Everything you see here is very finger friendly, right down to the tabbed interface up top.
Microsoft showed off technology to journalists on Tuesday for enabling out-of-home ads and speech recognition-based contextual video ads, and blocking ads from popping up next to porn.
The technology is being developed in Microsoft's adCenter Labs and is not on the market yet.
Tarek Najm, technical fellow at Microsoft, said in a statement that the technologies "can change the game of online advertising."
Meanwhile, Microsoft's got other plans for changing the game. The company l aunched a bid to acquire Yahoo for $44.6 billion last week. So far, Yahoo doesn't appear to be biting and things could get messy if Microsoft refuses to take "no" for an answer, which is likely.
A merger would help Microsoft better compete against Google in the search and online ad market. It's unclear whether Microsoft would go with its own adCenter online ad platform or with Yahoo's Panama platform if the merger were to go through. Microsoft launched adCenter in 2006, and Yahoo launched its overhauled online ad system last year . So far, neither of the systems seems to be giving Google much grief.
In its demonstrations at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters, Microsoft showed off something called "Air Wave," which allows advertisers to reach consumer on interactive multitouch screens in public places.
Another technology under development uses a computer vision algorithm to calculate where to put an ad in a video that would intrude the least on the viewing experience, as well as technology that inserts contextual ads in video where appropriate.
Microsoft also is working on improvements to keyword and content analysis that would help companies put their ads next to more relevant content. Other technology would block ads from being displayed next to objectionable or sensitive content such as porn or weapons.This is a screenshot for Microsoft's adCenter Contextual Ads for Video service that is being developed in its adCenter Labs.