LinkedIn introduces new competitive news feature- LinkedIn unveiled  its new personalized service called LinkedIn Today. The service will aggregate news stories from around the Internet, picked based on the user’s personal preferences and readership history. The service strives to compete with Google or Yahoo News, by leveraging social content to provide users with more personalized information. As Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, explains, “We want to give you what you need to know to be better at what you do.”
AOL lays off 20 percent of its workforce- AOL announced  on Thursday its plans to lay off 1,000 employees following their recent acquisition of Huffington Post. Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, explained in a memo to employees, “The changes we are making are not easy, but they are the right changes for the long-term health of the company, the brand and for our employees.”
Google aids in Japanese earthquake aftermath- Following the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, Google has launched  its Person Finder service to help people find loved ones or post notes. Google’s service has proven helpful during other natural disasters.
Mr. Schmidt goes to Washington [RUMORED]- Rumors  have surfaced this week that outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt may be considered for the role of U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The current Secretary of Commerce is expected to accept the position of U.S. ambassador to China. Other short-list candidates include former Pfizer CEO Jeffery Kindler and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Google lets users blacklist sites- A week after Google introduced  several changes to its algorithm in hopes of refining its search results and weeding out so called ‘content farms,’ Google will now allow users to block sites from their search results forever. According to a blog post  introducing the feature, Google’s goal is to provide its users with more relevant, higher quality results. As Google’s Amay Champaneria and Beverly Yang explain in their blog, “We’re adding this feature because we believe giving you control over the results you find will provide an even more personalized and enjoyable experience on Google. In addition, while we’re not currently using the domains people block as a signal in ranking, we’ll look at the data and see whether it would be useful as we continue to evaluate and improve our search results in the future.” The new service will be introduced over the next few days.
Facebook to back Obama’s anti-bullying campaign– The Wall Street Journal  reported yesterday that Facebook would back the Obama Administration’s anti-bullying campaign with newly expanded safety features. The “social reporting feature” is one of the new additions, which will better enable teenagers to ask for help if they are being bullied.