After selling almost all of its business units, InfoSpace announced last week it is laying off up to 40 employees to focus on online search...

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After selling almost all of its business units, InfoSpace announced last week it is laying off up to 40 employees to focus on online search.

And the Bellevue company’s search site looks like it is already being thrown its first bone. won the Most Animal-Friendly Internet Search Engine category in PETA’s 5th Annual Proggy Awards.

Dogpile will receive a framed certificate and will be featured on

The awards, named after the word progress (“proggy” … “progress,” get it?), recognize animal-friendly achievements in commerce and culture.

Dogpile received the award because it coaxes “users who are looking for a companion animal to head straight to their local animal shelter,” rather than purchase animals from a pet store.

InfoSpace says Dogpile, which uses Arfie the canine as its logo, also steers people to sites where they can learn more about animals who have been abandoned or abused.

DogPile was one of 20 Proggy winners, which ranged from cruelty-free cosmetics and household products to the most progressive chef and shoe company.

Year on the line

The year 2007 will clearly will go down in history as “the year of iPhone,” wrote Chetan Sharma, a wireless-industry consultant.

But what about this year?

In his 2008 predictions, he sent out a survey to colleagues in the industry for some answers. A couple of Q’s and A’s really stood out.

Here they are, with additional comments from Sharma.

Will Google introduce a Google Phone in 2008?

Almost half (44.5 percent) gave it a 75 percent or higher chance of happening, while 40 percent said no. Sharma’s thoughts were to expect another major announcement in two to three months.

If Google doesn’t build a phone, what about Microsoft?

More than half (63 percent) gave it less than a 25 percent chance of happening. Sharma added that he thought Microsoft would remain content with its operator strategy unless Google comes out with GPhone.

Will Google play to win in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction?

Almost 50 percent said Google had a 75 percent or higher chance of winning the bid. Sharma disagreed. Google is unlikely to play to win. He writes that services is not Google’s cup of tea, and it could use the funds instead to invest in a Clearwire or Sprint deal.

Happy Nu Yr

In December, two major events motivate people to reach out to loved ones — Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Increasingly, it seems people are choosing text messages as the way to do it. RealNetworks, which powers text messaging for some of the 78 providers it serves worldwide, saw first hand the kind of traffic those two holidays can generate.

The Seattle company said it processed a record 1 billion text messages on New Year’s Eve, which more than doubles the amount from last year. It also breaks the previous record set only a few days before Christmas.

That sounds about right.

In fact, so many people tried to send text messages New Year’s Eve, networks got jampacked and many messages arrived hours later — or not at all, according to a story from The Associated Press.

Verizon Wireless alone reported it was expecting customers to send and receive more than 300 million message in the 16 hours between noon on New Year’s Eve to 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.

To put that into context, it’s a lot, especially given the number of people who regularly send messages.

In the month of October, only about 45 percent of all U.S. subscribers (about 140 million people), had sent a text or photo message on their cellphone, according to Seattle-based M:Metrics.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or