Here’s the latest action:

usatodaylogo.bmpUSA Today launches new social networking features, but stiffs GoogleThe newspaper has offered an array of new features, letting registered readers have their own profile pages, where they can recommend articles, solicit comments — and there’s more. Alas, the new content of all these users won’t be tracked by Google or found in Google’s search results, because USA today has used Javascript technology to defy it. That hurts USA Today’s traffic. VentureBeat contacted Steve Kurtz, director of IT at USA Today. He said use of Javascript was intentional, explaining the company is being careful “about what content is associated with the brand…We’re still a newspaper.”

Reuters wants to start a financial MyspaceDetails here.

Latest Google tidbits — Here are the latest items emerging from Google’s latest filings: It has 30 subsidiaries and many international offices ; it has about $11 billion in cash and other liquid assets to spend; it paid 100 times YouTube’s $15 millon annual revenue when it bought the photo sharing site last year for $1.65 billion. Meanwhile, the troika of leaders at Google (Sergey, Larry, Eric Schmidt) earn $1 salaries again, while four other Google executives will get $450,000 this year, or $200,000 more than last year: Robert Eustace, senior VP of engineering and research; Omid Kordestani, senior VP of global sales and business development; Jonathan Rosenberg, senior VP of product management; and George Reyes, the company’s chief financial officer.

Google criticized — Google hasn’t had a very smooth early marketing of its paid software application package. Meanwhile, its chief foe, Microsoft goes on the attack, its lawyers saying Google is “cavalier” when it comes to copyright protection. Google, in response, points people to a comment by the CCIA, which says Microsoft is out of line, and that it should consider its own practice of reverse engineering products under “fair use.”

nbawidget.bmpLatest Newswire stories — There’s Peer39, which wants to bring natural language technology to an ad marketplace. It has backing former Shopping.com CEO, Dan Ciporin, and $3 million from Dawntreader, VentureBeat has learned.

There’s Clearspring, a company that says it serves 30 million widgets a day (!), and which has just raised $5.5 million. It’s smart, going after mainstream users. For example, its widgets are being offered by the NBA to fans, giving them a way to feature NBA all-star dance team members (see photo left) on their sites, scoreboard tables and more.

Finally, Ticketsnow gets $34 million for event tickets online.

Rockyou raises $11 million — Speaking of widget companies, Rockyou, which provides a way for you post your photos/slideshows on other sites, has raised $11 million in venture backing, led by Partech International, a VC with offices in SF and Europe, and including Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Rockyou has a valuation of more than $50 million, or around the same as competitor Slide, according to Techcrunch. It raised $1.5 million earlier from Sequoia and Lightspeed.

Webcasters to get snuffed by music royalties? — The music industry has pushed up royalty rates paid by Internet radio sites like Pandora and Last.fm, potentially causing them serious pain.

Yahoo’s Mixd shuts — Wow, that was quick. The SMS group networking service launched by Yahoo at test in November, rendered some lessons, but has been discontinued — though it might live on in future mobile products, Yahoo tells Read/Write Web.

Geni, the Web site for family trees, raises a $10 million second round of financing — It is led by Charles River Ventures. See our earlier coverage here. By all accounts, Geni is doing well. The Los Angeles company got unexpected traffic from people abroad, clamoring to use it in their native languages. [Update: David Sacks, the chief executive, confirms that company is valued, after the investment, at $100 million, a significant jump from the $10 million valuation of the company after it raised money in June. Some 100,000 users have input about 2 million people on the site (themselves and their relatives).]

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