Tech news roundup: Good news for consumers

Tech news roundup: Good news for consumers

Thursday already? The news has ranged across the gamut this week, with big happenings in the realms of mobile, privacy, social and the future of content publishing. To get caught up on the week’s news, read on.

Privacy built into the browser

Mozilla added “do not track” capabilities to the Firefox 4 beta, giving users a deeper level of control over their online privacy. If a Firefox user turns on the “do not track” feature, a signal will be sent to websites that the user has opted-out of behavioral tracking.

Behavioral tracking and its use by advertisers has been a growing concern of consumer advocates as tracking technologies become more sophisticated despite lacking policy regulations or widely accepted industry self-regulation.

“Do not track” is an elegant solution to users seeking enhanced privacy controls.

Facebook use still rising strong

It’s clear that Facebook dominates the social media space, yet statistics about Facebook usage released by comScore this week are impressive. Year over year, the average daily visitors jumped 69 percent, the number of pages viewed grew 71 percent and the overall time spent on Facebook soared 79 percent.

Other significant statistics about the most popular and fastest growing websites are available in comScore’s 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review.

AOL acquires HuffPo in major content play

As AOL makes moves to revitalize its struggling brand, on Sunday the company announced its acquisition of leading online news site and blog the Huffington Post.

At this week’s Signal LA Conference, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong explained why HuffPo was a target for acquisition: “Our interest in buying the Huffington Post was about their social content and where the future’s going from distribution.” The move is in line with the journalism-focused strategy that Armstrong last year said would be at the heart of the company’s turn around.

Mobile hogs the spotlight

Lots to say about mobile this week.

For one, more smart phones were purchased than PCs in the fourth quarter of 2010, marking the rise of mobile devices as the computing platform of choice.

As for individual smart phone manufacturers, in the fourth quarter Apple overtook RIM as the leading smart phone vendor. In the same report, the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Nokia showed disappointing year-over-year growth. It’s no surprise then that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop sent a shockingly honest memo to employees to rally the company in the face of mounting competitive challenges.