In spite of its global popularity, internet telephony (voice-over-internet protocol, or VoIP), which is almost free for users, has not become a gold mine for its pioneers such as Skype and Vonage. Popular online auction firm eBay, which bought Skype two years ago for ,6-billion, affirmed that message in a costly way on Monday.
Social networking site Facebook, which signs up more than a million new fans every month, has changed tack and begun to list publicly members' profiles on search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. It is, in fact, aiming to get in early in the race to build a global -- and potentially lucrative -- online people directory.
Born 10 years ago, the Google internet search engine has grown into the electronic centre of human knowledge by indexing billions of web pages as well as images, books and videos. On September 15 1997, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two 24-year-old Stanford University students, registered the domain name of ''google.com''.