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January 9, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Jan. 9, 2013

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Google Continues Bid to Become Internet Provider

Google and the Chelsea Improvement Company have joined forces to provide free public Wi-Fi Internet to the hundreds of thousands of people who live or work in the swanky Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea. It is also the company’s home base.

The project will be Google’s first wired neighborhood in Manhattan and the largest contiguous Wi-Fi network in New York City.

As part of the project, free Wi-Fi can be accessed outdoors in a number of areas including the Chelsea Triangle, 14th Street Park and Gansevoort Plaza.

“Google is proud to provide free Wi-Fi in the neighborhood we have called home for over six years,” said Google Chief Information Officer Ben Fried. “This network will not only be a resource for the 2,000-plus residents of the Fulton Houses, it will also serve the 5,000-plus student population of Chelsea as well as the hundreds of workers, retail customers and tourists who visit our neighborhood every day.”

Sales Not As Strong In December As Expected

Client sales growth on Amazon.com and eBay dipped in December, according to ChannelAdvisor.

While sales on Amazon were up 29.8 percent over the same period in 2011, December was not as strong as November, which recorded a sales rate of 43.7 percent, Channel Advisor reported Jan. 8.

It was the same for eBay. While sales were up 22.2 percent in December, compared to 2011, it was still slower than November’s growth: 27.4 percent.

During the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, dubbed the “Cyber Five,” by ChannelAdvisor, client sales on eBay.com jumped 38.3 percent compared with the same days in 2011. Client sales on Amazon.com went up 37.7 percent the same five-day period.

According to Reuters, online spending grew 14 percent for the entire shopping season, two percent less comScore Inc.’s estimates of 16 percent before the season began.

Congressman Wants Probe Into FTC Leak

A Congressman wants an investigation into the Federal Trade Commission after private information of its probe into Google’s practices was leaked to the media.

Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), in a Jan. 3 letter to FTC Investigator General Scott Wilson, asked he look into how aspects of the FTC’s investigation were reported by various media outlets before the FTC released a public statement. The FTC is legally obligated to keep the details of its ongoing investigations private.

“Throughout the process, nonpublic information about developments in the investigation has been inappropriately shared with the media,” reads Issa’s letter to Wilson that was obtained by Mashable.

“It is believed that the Commission may be contributing to, or is the source of, this information,” continues the letter. “This is of concern because such leaks are prohibited by law and counterproductive to the investigative process. To determine whether the Commission, or its staff, has shared nonpublic information with the public or the press about the investigation of Google, I request the Office of Inspector General promptly investigate the matter.”

 

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