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Originally published Monday, December 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

WhitePages.com coverage expands from 40 to 80 percent

Seattle-based online directory service WhitePages.com today is announcing a major expansion of its service, increasing its coverage from...

Seattle-based online directory service WhitePages.com today is announcing a major expansion of its service, increasing its coverage from an estimated 40 to 80 percent of the U.S. population.

Using information from phone companies that use its services, WhitePages.com recently had listings for about 90 million people. As of today the site has listings for 180 million people, about 80 percent of U.S. adults. The additional listings came from sources such as public records and business licenses.

Founder Alex Algard said it's one of several steps the 10-year-old company is taking to broaden its reach. Early next year, it will add features to let people edit or hide portions of their personal information. It's also preparing a messaging service that will send text messages or e-mails, using directory information it has but doesn't include in public listings.

Algard expects the 130-person company will handle more than 2 billion searches this year, up from 1.8 billion in 2007. Sales will be in the $60 million range, he said.

Information technology

Tech-spending slowdown seen

Weakness in the U.S. economy figures to take a bite out of the technology industry's growth rate in 2008, when analysts expect tech spending to slow around the world.

The picture is not exactly dire: A forecast released last week by analyst firm IDC calls for the worldwide information-technology market to grow 5.5 to 6 percent in 2008, the lower end of what has become a usual range. In the U.S., the market is expected to expand 3 to 4 percent.

Those growth rates are softer than this year's 6.9 percent worldwide expansion and 6.6 percent growth in the U.S., according to IDC.

Other analyst firms differ on the precise numbers but also see a slowdown in growth coming.

IBM

Light may replace tiny copper wires

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IBM is developing technology that uses light to let semiconductors send data hundreds of times faster.

IBM researchers have converted electrical signals into pulses of light inside a modulator that's about the width of a human hair, according to a paper published in the journal Optics Express. The modulator may eliminate the need for the tiny copper wires that transmit information between chip cores, the brains of semiconductors.

It may be more than 10 years before the technology is used commercially, IBM said.

IBM isn't alone in developing the technology. Intel and other semiconductor companies also are seeking alternatives to copper wires.

IBM

$1 billion in sales in India is expected

IBM expects sales in India will approach $1 billion for the first time this year.

Sales of hardware, software and services in India increased 39 percent in the first three quarters, said Vice President Jesse Greene. IBM had sales of about $700 million last year in the country, Asia's third-biggest economy, he said.

The expansion is helping offset slowing U.S. sales for IBM, whose total revenue was little changed last year.

Intel

Co-founder wants to see telescope built

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty, will help build the world's largest telescope by giving $200 million to the California Institute of Technology and the University of California.

The couple's San Francisco-based foundation will add to a previous gift of $50 million, the University of California said in a statement last week.

The telescope project, whose cost may reach $1 billion, is a collaboration among Caltech in Pasadena; the University of California, Berkeley; and an association of Canadian scientists.

Astronomers could use the telescope to locate and analyze light from the first star systems, and study how the Milky Way and other galaxies were formed and evolved, the statement said.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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