iFive: AOL Buys Huffington Post, Yahoo Goes Personal, FCC’s Rural Broadband Plans, The Daily’s Tech Woes, Gogo In-Flight Net

Welcome to the start of the week! Here’s our digest of the early innovation news, to get you off to a flying start:

1. AOL, fresh from its recent acquisition spree, has done it again–it’s bought online news aggregator Huffington Post for $315 million in cash and stock, and has appointed Ariana Huffington to a central role in managing AOL’s content. Weirdly, on a day when the U.S. was focused on football, the deal was signed at the Super Bowl.


2. With interesting timing, in the light of the AOL-HuffingtonPost deal, Yahoo is in the news for future plans: It’ll be making a big move toward personalized content, apparently. CEO Carole Bartz is poised to reveal the plans, which will include a “publishing platform” for phones and tablets that crafts custom news and gossip feeds based on users preferences, search history, social networks and so on. It’s the next step along the road that brought us AOL’s personalized news iPad app, Editions.

3. The FCC is poised to reveal, today, the first stages of its plan to re-purpose $8 billion dollars used for subsidizing phone systems in rural, remoter areas of the U.S. to paying for broadband instead. It’s seen as a vital step to enabling citizens to partake in a digital lifestyle–but it’s not without its controversies: Part of the difficulty is in finding the funds to make the necessary infrastructure changes, some of which may come from consumers.

4. Apple and News Corp.’s iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, seems to have been beset by technical problems since the moment it launched: Numerous reports include over-extended load times for the app and new content, and recurring crashes (something we’ve also seen happen with our edition of The Daily at Fast Company‘s office). The Daily‘s technical team is blaming a “massive uptake” for the issues, but fixes have yet to arrive.

5. It’s increasingly likely that you’ll be able to access the Net while flying in the U.S.: In-flight ISP Aircell has just revealed it’s secured $35 million more in venture funding to expand its operations. Google promoted its service for the holiday months by paying for free access for flyers using Aircell’s Gogo, which significantly bumped up the number of users, perhaps suggesting an alternative business model for Gogo.

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