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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gates floats idea to share ad revenue

From wire reports

A spokeswoman for Microsoft Corp. said nothing’s been decided about rewarding users of its search services with money or free software.

Bill Gates outlined that notion during a visit to meet with some of the company’s partners in India last week, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We’ll actually go to users and say instead of us keeping all that ad revenue, we’ll actually share some of it back with the user,” Gates said.

“The user essentially will get paid, either money or free content or software things that they wouldn’t get if they didn’t use that search engine,” Gates explained, according to a transcript.

The spokeswoman said the idea is just one of many possible services Microsoft could — but currently has no plans to — roll out, the Journal reported.

‘Podcast’ is word of the year

Editors at the New Oxford American Dictionary have selected “podcast” as their word of the year.

The definition is “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal-audio player.”

“Podcast” was a runner up in last year’s judging, according to Erin McKean, editor in chief. “It really seems that there’s only so much music you can listen to, so people are turning to other content to fill those earphones,” she said.

The difference this year was that millions of portable devices have been sold and the awareness of podcasts has soared. “That’s what dictionaries do. They catalog words in popular use,” McKean added. It does not mean the editors think podcasts are a sure thing to be important or even popular five years from now, she cautioned.

Runners-up for the word of the year included “bird flu,” “persistent vegetative state” and “trans fat.”

McKean said “podcast” will be added to an online version of the New Oxford American Dictionary early next year.

ITunes offers help finding podcasts

Apple Computer’s iTunes store is offering visitors more help in finding podcasts to please their ears. Previously it was possible for people to offer their comments only about audio books and music; now they can review podcasts, too. The store also has added directories of the 100 most-subscribed-to podcasts in 21 interest categories, including arts and entertainment, business, and travel.

Online shopping trips up again

Nielsen/NetRatings reported the number of online shopping trips grew 33 percent from a year ago during the latest monitored week. The research firm counted 462 million visits to sites operated by 100 online retailers for the week ending Dec. 4. The fastest-growing category was books/music/video, which gained 238 percent. Apparel ranked second for year-over-year growth; it was up 38 percent.

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