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November 20, 2012

Technology News Briefs — Nov. 20, 2012

Google Invests $75M in Wind Farm

Google has invested $75 million into a 50MW wind farm in Rippey, Iowa.

The Rippey project, developed by RPM Access, is expected to produce enough energy to power more than 15,000 Iowa homes. The project, which is now in operation, uses turbines produced by Nordex USA at their Jonesboro, Ark. facility.

“We’ve taken two approaches to greening the grid in Iowa, a state where we operate a data center,” says Axel Martinez, assistant treasurer, head of Capital Markets.

“Back in 2010, we entered into a long-term contract to purchase wind energy from NextEra Energy Resources’ Story County II wind farm. This time, we’re investing directly into a wind project, which has been contracted to sell all of the energy to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, an Iowa-based utility that will deliver the energy to local consumers.

“We’re happy to help make more renewable energy available to Iowans and to support the growing wind energy industry in the state.”

The latest funding brings Google’s total investment in the renewable energy sector to more than $990 million.

Facebook Gifts Expands Offerings

Facebook Gifts now include hundreds of new gift options from new retail partners that are now available to more people on Facebook.

Lindt, babyGap, Fab, Brookstone, Dean & Deluca,L’Occitane, ProFlowers, Random House, Inc. and NARS Cosmetics have all been added to the retailer line up.

Facebook users can also gift TV shows and music with subscriptions to Hulu Plus, Pandora and Rdio.

Facebook describes Gifts as a way to choose, purchase and ship real gifts in a matter of minutes right on the site.

So far, gift selection items fall in the $20 to $30 range or below.

Apple Stock Rises Nearly Six Percent

Apple shares rose nearly six percent Nov. 19, signaling the two-month stock sell-off is over.

According to an Associated Press story, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said “blockbuster” products for the Christmas season — which included the new iPad Mini — are good reasons to buy Apple stock. In fact, he called the sell-off period “insane.”

He said he believes Apple could grow its earnings per share at a rate of 20 percent to 30 percent a year over the next half a decade based on the firm’s low market share in mobile phones and PCs, The Associated Press reported.