Today in Tech: Yahoo layoff details, Facebook, and iAds

December 15, 2010, 12:59 PM UTC

A curated selection of the day’s most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.

“Chrome OS will be killed next year (or “merged” with Android). … Chrome OS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display).” — Gmail creator Paul Buchheit (Boy Genius Report and TechCrunch)

  • Photo: Bloomberg

    Unfortunately, Yahoo finally made good on all those layoff rumors by cutting roughly 600 jobs, or 4% of its overall workforce, yesterday. The company didn’t specify which departments the cuts came from, but earlier reports speculated it would focus on the products division. Said Yahoo in an email statement: “personnel changes are part of our ongoing strategy to best position Yahoo! for revenue growth.” According to one insider, the product management team was moved to India, and layoffs focused on employees who had been with the company for less than a year. Severance will reportedly include up to three months of pay plus an unspecified bonus. (CNNMoney and Business Insider)

  • As per jobs site Glassdoor, Facebook employees love their jobs so much, they’ve collectively ranked it the best place to work in the U.S. for 2010, above Southwest Airlines (2nd place), and Bain & Company (3rd place). (All Things D)
  • China surpassed Japan in terms of Research and Development (R&D) spending, making it second only to the U.S. It’s expected the country will spend $153.7 billion next year, up from $141.4 billion this year. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Email is now covered by the Fourth Amendment, which means the government must now get a warrant to access email in a criminal investigation. (TechSpot)
  • Nokia delayed the release of its E7 smartphone until early 2011 to ensure a good user experience. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Cheryl Rosner, CEO of Groupon also-ran BuyWithMe, stepped down just nine months after joining the company and just before the company raised $16 million in funding. BuyWithMe is currently running a distant third to Groupon — LivingSocial comes second — in the online daily deals space. (Business Insider)
  • The recently-launched Nook Color, using a build of Android 2.1, will get a much-welcome 2.2 update some time in January, which should include access to a traditional Android home screen and Android Market. (engadget)
  • Apple launched its first iAd for the upcoming film, Tron: Legacy. Expect nearly 10 minutes of video, images from the flick, a theater locator with show times, and a preview of the soundtrack. Users will also be able to send email from within the ad. (Ad Age)
  • Computer scientist Anna Patterson, who founded search engine Cuil back in early 2007, returned to Google, serving as Director of Google Research, back in September. (TechCrunch)
  • The Air Force is blocking employee access to web sites that posted secret cables obtained and leaked by WikiLeaks recently. Those who try to access The Times, The Guardian, etc. on company computers will be greeted with the message, “Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored.” (New York Times)
  • Firefox lead designer Aza Raskin is leaving his position with Mozilla to co-found healthcare startup Massive Health, which intends to bring a user experience designer’s sensibility to healthcare. Wrote Raskin on his blog: “Health care needs to have its design Renaissance, where products and services are redesigned to be responsive to human needs and considerate of human frailties.” (Read Write Web)
  • The IBM supercomputer named after company founder Thomas J. Watson Sr. will take on the two most successful, and most-decidedly human, contestants in a round of Jeopardy this February. (New York Times)
  • In light of Gawker user accounts being recently hacked comes news of the top five most common Gawker account passwords: 123456, password, 12345678, lifehack, and qwerty. (The Huffington Post)
  • Zombie Farm, the free iPhone game that counterintuitively mashes up zombies and farming — yes, seriously — hit 7.3 million downloads recently. (TechCrunch)

Sign up now to get Today in Tech emailed to you each and every morning.