Roundup: EBay still struggling, the decline of tech on Digg and more

Here’s the latest action:EBay’s Q1 is good but not great — The company’s net income grew 22 percent to $562 million compared to the same period a year ago, and its revenue climbed 24 percent to $2.19 billion. However, user growth has slowed, and the operating margin fell, largely because eBay’s growth is in its sites with low-profit like Skype and PayPal. EBay is trying to hold it own against Amazon’s auction features; John Donahue took over as the company’s chief executive in March, and has already instituted changes to the site’s fee system. Now the market turns its attention to Google’s earnings, which will be announced this afternoon and could provide more evidence that the Internet economy is slowing.

Diggers don’t dig tech stories — Tech stories’ presence on Digg has fallen from 76 percent to 20 percent, according to ReadWriteWeb. The site (with help from blogger and developer Richard Cunningmham) compared Digg’s front page during the first week of March in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Twenty percent is still a significant chunk of news, but the decline seems to indicate Digg’s shift away from tech and toward becoming a more mainstream news site.

Twitter message helps Berkeley student get out of jail — Egyptian police reportedly arrested journalism graduate student James Karl Buck while he was photographing a protest. Buck then sent out a short Twitter message on his cell phone: “ARRESTED.” His friends called Berkeley and the American Embassy, and the next day Buck was a free man. The San Jose Mercury News has more.

Google Maps predicts traffic — Not only does the site offer live traffic information, it can also predict conditions based on past coverage. Google says it has comprehensive traffic data in 30 major metropolitan areas, with partial coverage in others. I, for one, am grateful: This should be a huge help in deciding when to navigate the fearsome stretch of Highway 101 between San Francisco and VentureBeat’s office in Redwood City.

Chip maker Phiar goes out of business — The Boulder, Colo. company had trouble raising a second round of funding after recapitalizing and raising $9 million last October. GigaOM has the scoop, and says chief executive Bob Goodman hasn’t confirmed yet.

Londoners give passwords away to good-looking women — A study found that 21 percent of 576 London office workers were willing to give their computer passwords away to women offering them a chocolate bar in exchange. This sounds crazy to me (Who would do such a thing? Who would design a study like this, anyway?) but the Wall Street Journal says it’s true.

Ad network AdRoll now open to the public – AdRoll’s goal is to sell ads for community-specific networks of small web publishers. Silicon Valley Watcher says the startup’s “blend of social networking tools and marketing technologies” could be competitive against larger, existing networks like Federated Media.