Twitter upgrade, HP promotions, Google+ Local launches

Though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, there are Silicon Valley companies not named Apple or Facebook that are still making news:

Twitter introduced an upgrade today that will boost its speed and get rid of those annoying hashtags in its URLs. The tweaks “allowed us to drop our initial page load times to 1/5th of what they were previously,” Twitter engineering manager Dan Webb wrote in a blog post. The social network is focusing on improving users’ “time to tweet,” by reducing the amount of JavaScript needed and loading “only what we need” with each page, Webb wrote. That process is speeded up by removing the hashtag coding in URLs.

Hewlett-Packard has promoted two executives.  Bill Veghte has been named chief operating officer, and George Kadifa will take Veghte’s place as executive vice president of software, HP announced in statement today. Kadifa will report directly to CEO Meg Whitman. “His ability to manage multiple business models will prove extremely valuable to HP as we extend our software offerings in cloud, information and security,” Whitman wrote. Veghte will work closely with Whitman on HP’s long-term strategy. The Palo Alto company is in the midst of a corporate streamlining effort that will result in 27,000 job cuts over the next two years.

Google is taking aim at Yelp with its new service, Google+ Local. The service, which replaces Google Places, launched today and integrates Zagat reviews — which Google owns — with Google’s maps and social network. The service, described in a blog post by Google director of product management Avni Shah, includes the ability to write reviews, upload photos and share with friends. The New York Times reports the service is part of a push by Google to bolster its local and mobile influences; Google Vice President Marissa Mayer told the Times that that 20 percent of all Google searches are for local information — and 40 percent of those are using mobile phones.


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