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QuoraQuora Will Host Blogs (SocialTimes)
The question-and-answer platform Quora will leverage its extensive set of topics to host blogs, the company said. Questions and answers are already categorized by topic, and writers who move into blogging will use the same 300,000 topics to categorize their blogs. The Quora Blog “Blogs allow writers to share their knowledge and thoughts in a space that they control, without the structure of the questions-and-answers format but with the same potential for viral distribution and the same engagement through votes and comments,” reads a blog post by Quora. “Blogs on Quora are great for people who (1) don’t have a big, established online presence already and (2) don’t want to do the time-intensive, heavy lifting of marketing their blog and slowly building an audience.” AllThingsD This isn’t a blog service with custom layouts and nifty widgets. It’s not a full competitor to WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or even Medium. It’s a place to write good stuff and get read by the Quora audience. Reuters By cultivating a blog network, the site could be laying the groundwork to pivot into a more traditional ad-supported media property. Marc Bodnick, a former investment partner at Elevation Partners who is now Quora’s senior business executive, said the new format should appeal to writers who do not already blog, or who do not maintain a heavily trafficked personal site. The Next Web With this news, the company is also launching a new feature for its Quora for iPhone app: rich-text editing, which it will be launching “soon.”

Google Unveils a More Beautiful, Reliable and Faster Image Search with Inline Results and Metadata (The Next Web)
Google on Wednesday announced a redesign of its image search feature on Google.com that the company claims is faster, more beautiful and more reliable. Google says you will see the new look “in the next few days” but wouldn’t get any more specific beyond that.

Google+ Flags Users’ Coworkers in Bid for Enterprise Use (SocialTimes)
In related Google news, Google+ is launching a new feature that will let users know if they are connecting with another user who works for the same company, Google said on Wednesday. If a user views the profile of a coworker and hovers over the person’s name, the company’s URL will appear beneath the name to confirm that the profile belongs to the user’s coworker.

State Department is Fighting Jihadist Propaganda with Social Media (Mashable)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the U.S. State Department is actively countering online propaganda posted by terrorists groups such as al-Qaeda by posting videos and other content of its own. Clinton’s comments about the digital propaganda duel came during her testimony to the House of Representatives regarding the September 2012 attack on an American consolate in Benghazi, Libya.

Facebook Ramped Up Lobbying By 314 Percent in Fourth Quarter (AllFacebook)
Facebook is increasingly becoming a player in Washington, D.C., and not just because of social media’s influence on politics. MarketWatch reported Wednesday that Facebook spent $1.4 million on lobbying in the fiscal fourth quarter — a 314 percent increase from what it sent to politicians in the same time period of 2011.

Apple Sells 47.8M iPhones in Q1 (CNET)
Apple closed out 2012 on a high note with its iPhone sales, but many fear its momentum is already beginning to peter out. The Cupertino, Calif., company said Wednesday that it sold 47.8 million iPhones in the fiscal first quarter (or the last quarter of the calendar year).

Twitter: The Land of 140 Character Tweets … and Six-Second Videos? (AllTwitter)
Financial Review shared that the “social messaging platform Twitter is believed to be set to launch a video-based rival to Instagram called Vine in Australia in coming weeks … According to sources familiar with the service, Vine will offer six-second videos that can be integrated with tweets.”

Netflix Will Launch Personalized Profiles Some Time This Year (GigaOM)
Netflix is working on launching personalized profiles some time later this year, according to remarks made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings during Wednesday’s fourth-quarter 2012 earnings call. However, he cautioned that a launch is “not imminent.”

Restaurants Crack Down on Instagrammers (PRNewser)
Five-star chef David Bouley calls the food-fetish scene “a circus” that can quickly get out of control, with some eaters setting portable tripods on their tables and others using their iPhone flash functions without considering the fact that this is extremely annoying to everyone around them. Gentleman Bouley describes his solution to The New York Times: As soon as he sees a diner pull the phone out, he offers to take him or her back into his restaurant’s kitchen to “shoot the plates as they come out.” But most chefs aren’t quite so nice:

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