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The Week We Searched For – February 8, 2010

Facebook Turns Six The beloved social networking site Facebook turned six last week [1] with an astounding 400 million users. During a celebratory party last Thursday at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, Facebook received yet another facelift. The update, which places emphasis on the top menu and left column, is said to focus on improving site navigation. [2] In related Facebook News: Aardvark Publishes Research Paper The social search engine Aardvark [6] published a research paper last week entitled “Anatomy of a Large Scale Social Search Engine [7],” written by Damon Horowitz and Sepandar Kamvar. The paper draws parallels to Google's groundbreaking paper “Anatomy of Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine [7],” which outlines a prototype for a search engine based on using hyperlinks and other data to determine a website’s relevance. Similarly, Aardvark uses a set of factors to identify which individuals on their networkare best qualified to answer a given user question. Aardvark currently has 90,000 users [8], however, as the push towards smartphones and mobile advertising continues many are expecting that number to grow. YouTube Offers Video Rentals Last month, YouTube entered into the video rental business [9], with a library of five videos from the Sundance Film Festival. Despite their limited offering, YouTube reported over $10K in revenue from their video rental experiment. [10] While this is a drop in the bucket for Google/YouTube, it does signify a new effort to go head-to-head against Netflix and Apple. Google’s Display Ads to Top $1 Billion Analysts reported last week that Google’s displays should turn profitable in 2010 [11] and are likely to contribute roughly $1 billion to Google’s annual revenue. If these estimates are accurate, the $1 billion mark would represent a 40% increase in sales from 2009.