links for 2009-12-29

  • In 2007, Jim MacMillan was at the top of his profession — a photojournalist who had just shared a Pulitzer Prize for pictures from Iraq’s deadliest combat zones — but he also started to wonder what kind of future that profession had in store for him. His newsroom in Philadelphia was making steep job cuts in the face of plummeting revenues. Then MacMillan attended a BlogWorld conference and returned with a determination to re-invent himself though social networking.
    MacMillan has since become highly skilled at using social networking to gain new fans of his photography, and he is hardly alone. Over the last few years, creative professionals — including musicians, writers and artists — have found they can reach an engaged audience by making songs available on a MySpace page or building a national readership by blogging. Now, many individuals are wondering how to build a buzz about themselves and find new employment by adapting the same kind of branding techniques used by businesses.
  • Twitter is ending 2009 on a high note. The microblogging site has reached profitability after inking $25 million of deals that make its content searchable by Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT), Bloomberg BusinessWeek has learned.
    In October, Twitter said it had struck multiyear arrangements that make users’ short blog postings available on and on Bing, which is run by Microsoft. Those agreements carry sufficient value to help Twitter achieve a small profit for 2009, say two people familiar with the company’s finances, who asked to remain anonymous because Twitter’s books are not a matter of public record.

  • Google (GOOG) has invested a lot of time and money in building a broad alliance of companies to support Android, its operating system for mobile phones. The Open Handset Alliance now totals 47 members, including hardware, software, and chip companies. Now Google is considering a move to sell its own phone, which risks undermining the coalition. Phonemakers such as Motorola (MOT) and Samsung, in particular, could begin to see Google as more rival than ally if the search giant starts selling a product head-to-head with theirs. “This could destroy the Open Handset Alliance,” says program manager Will Stofega of market researcher IDC.
  • There’s no telling yet whether or when AT&T (T) might lose its position as the sole U.S. carrier of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone. But in the event Apple opts to partner with other mobile-phone service providers, Verizon Wireless says it’s up to the task.
    Verizon Wireless has even made upgrades that would make its network more capable of handling extra traffic that would be generated by the iPhone, Verizon Wireless Chief Technology Officer Anthony Melone says in an interview.
    “We have put things in place already,” Melone tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “We are prepared to support that traffic.”
  • Three months after the launch of its its supercomputer-scale hosted data mining service, startup 80legs Inc. has made a limited version of it available without charge.
    The company will continue to charge for higher levels of the service.
    Aimed at researchers, students, startups and small companies, the free offering lets users search and analyze up to 100,000 Web pages per job, the company said in a press release last week. Users may have one job, which the company says is more sophisticated than a typical Google keyword search, running at a time.

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