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Katrina drives up Web use

From wire reports

Several U.S. Web sites choked under the demand for news about Hurricane Katrina, according to Keynote Systems Inc., a technology company that monitors Web sites’ performance.

Weather.com was generally unavailable the evening of Aug. 28 as its servers were pounded by requests for information, Keynote said. The National Weather Service’s Web site, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/, was also crunched late Monday morning, with only 25 percent of requests getting a response. Several of the largest news Web sites slowed, reportedly taking as long as 10 seconds to deliver a page, Reuters said in its report of the Keynote analysis.

Technorati.com was reporting Tuesday morning that the four most popular searches of its database of 16.3 million blogs were for storm-related information. One of them was “Chad Myers,” a CNN weather reporter. His popularity is attributed to bloggers’ reports that when interrupted mid-weathercast, by a CNN “Daybreak” anchor, he “flipped out.” Here’s the video: http://www.dartblog.com/data/media1/ chadmyers—cnn.mov.

The largest newspaper in Louisiana went to the Web to publish its coverage of Katrina. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans posted a 28-page “paper” as a PDF file. The front-page headline was “CATAS- TROPHIC.” You can download it here: http://www.nola.com/hurricane/katrina/pdf/ 083005—a01a02.pdf.

Baidu.com gains in China

Baidu.com Inc. has become the search engine of choice for most Chinese Internet users, according to a research report by the China Internet Network Information Center. Six months ago, Google had the largest market share in the country. The Associated Press reported Baidu.com boosted its market share in Beijing to 52 percent, while Google slipped to 33 percent. The American Internet search engine kept its customer base steady while the overall market grew, the report said. Baidu also led Google in share in the local markets of Guangzhou and Shanghai.

United Virtualities adapts

United Virtualities said its software for recording Internet phone has been modified to be compatible with Google’s new instant messaging and telephone service. The product, Hot Recorder, debuted several months ago, configured to work with the largest Web phone operator, Skype.

“We know that very soon Google Talk will become the second or largest VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) operator,” Mookie Tenenbaum, the founder of United Virtualities, said, according to MediaPost Publications. “They’re the only one who can compete with Skype.”

Warner works with musicians

Warner Music Group is preparing to launch a record label that would develop and market new artists and distribute their music only over the Internet.

The venture, tentatively referred to as an “e-label,” is scheduled to be in operation by the end of this year.

Warner, home to artists like Madonna and Linkin Park, is hoping the label will enable the New York-based company to give emerging artists more time to develop without the traditional pressures of having to churn out a slate of hits.

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