Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Internet – Engine search

Google Launches New Deskbar
Google has released a new beta version of its utility, the Google Deskbar. The version number now stands at 0.5.81.
Google Deskbar gives users the ability to search Google without a browser window being open. Results are now viewable in a smaller inset window.
Deskbar also introduces new short cuts to Windows users. You can access Deskbar by pressing CTRL-ALT-G. Once you start the utility, other keyboard shortcuts become available. CTRL-I activates Google Image Search; CTRL-F brings Froogle up, while CTRL-N accesses Google news.

The system requirements for Google Desktop are: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and your browser must be Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher.
Source; Google, March 04

Telecommunications – Market

Asset sales by Telecom Italia result in a profit
Telecom Italia, the former Italian telecommunications monopoly, said Tuesday that it swung to a profit of E1.19 billion, or $1.46 billion, in 2003 as the company sold assets to raise funds for debt reduction.

The profit last year followed a loss of E773 million in 2002. Sales fell 1.8 percent to E30.9 billion as Telecom Italia's main business of selling fixed-line phone services stagnated and a strengthening euro pulled down results. Telecom Italia sold assets worth more than E4 billion last year to reduce its debt. Operating profit, which strips out the gains from those asset sales, rose 12 percent to E6.8 billion.

With revenue stagnating from traditional fixed-line services - voice phone calls and Internet access through a conventional dial-up connection - Telecom Italia is concentrating its efforts on increasing the number of clients who pay for the fast Internet service over phone lines, called DSL, for digital subscriber line. While Telecom Italia is expanding in that field, it is still a relatively small part of the company's business.

The company had 2.5 million DSL Internet clients at the end of last year and more than 25 million Italian customers overall. Telecom Italia has been investing heavily to advertise the DSL service as it competes for clients with Tiscali and e.Biscom. Both Tiscali and e.Biscom sell their services in part by renting space on Telecom Italia's network. Telecom Italia's debt fell by E2.5 billion last year to E33.3 billion. Telecom Italia also said it would pay a dividend of 10.41 cents per ordinary share and 11.51 cents per savings share. Both payouts are 10 percent more than the dividends last year.

Telecom Italia Mobile, the mobile unit that is 56 percent-owned by Telecom Italia, reported Monday that 2003 net income more than doubled to E2.3 billion. Excluding onetime items, profit rose 42 percent. Telecom Italia Mobile has 44.5 million customers around the world, more than half of whom are in Italy. An investor group led by Pirelli, the Italian tire and telecommunications cable company, controls telecom Italia.
Source; IHT, March 04


Internet – Online AD

MSN Sets July Date For New Search Engine
MSN has announced that they are going to start labeling their paid search-listings more clearly. MSN is attempting make their ads more search term relevant. This comes after years of criticizing from the FCC about the clarity of MSN’s ad designation. Starting on July 1, MSN will change the appearance of their sponsored ads. The top 3 ads will be highlighted with a box as well as marked with a “sponsored” designation. MSN will also replace their Overture listings with a suggested site from the editorial staff. MSN’s listings are powered by Yahoo’s Inktomi algorithm. Karen Redetzki, MSN product manager, said that, “we've found that people spent more minutes with MSN Search, when we had algorithmic search results above the fold, 100 percent of the time.”

She also stated that the changes were made in response to customer requests, not FCC warnings.
Source; CNET, March 04

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