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Google's maps going indoors


Google's next frontier in digital mapping will span the world's shopping malls and airports. An upgrade of Google's mobile mapping service released yesterday includes directions within stores, malls, airports and transit centers in the U.S. and Japan. The initial index only covers a small fraction of the great indoors, but Google Inc. is hoping that will change as more owners and operators of shopping and transportation hubs submit their indoor floor plans so they can be mapped. For now, Google's indoor maps can only be viewed on smartphones and tablet computers that run on the company's Android software. That's still a potentially huge audience because more than 550,000 Android-powered devices are activated each day. -- AP



Cyber Monday sales at $1.25B


Online shoppers spent record amounts on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making it the biggest online shopping day in history. Online sales rose 22 percent to $1.25 billion on Cyber Monday, when retailers ramp up online promotions, according to research firm comScore Inc. A year ago, Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion for the first time. IBM Benchmark, another company that tracks online sales, reported a 33 percent rise. The average order rose 2.6 percent to $193.24 this year, according to IBM Benchmark. It didn't give total dollar sales numbers for comparison. -- AP



Home prices drop in September


U.S. home prices are falling again in most major cities after posting small gains over the summer and spring. The report suggests the troubled housing market remains weak and won't recover any time soon. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index released yesterday showed prices dropped in September from August in 17 of the 20 cities tracked. That was the first decline after five straight months in which at least half the cities in the survey showed monthly gains. A separate index for the July-September quarter shows prices were mostly unchanged from the previous quarter. David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee, said that while the steep price declines seen between 2007 and 2009 appear to be over, home prices are down from the same time last year and do not show signs of recovering. -- AP



App ratings system detailed


Mobile applications for smartphones and tablet computers may carry new ratings for violence and sexual content under a wireless industry-sponsored system awaiting backing from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Under the policy unveiled yesterday by CTIA-The Wireless Association, mobile apps for games and social networking will be rated for age-appropriate content on a five-point scale from "everyone" to "adults only." The voluntary program will be operated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. -- Bloomberg News



SF dials up meter feeding test


San Francisco plans to test a new service that would allow motorists to feed parking meters using cellphones. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city will alert drivers with a text message when their parking meters are about to expire. Drivers will be given the option to put more money on the meter remotely using their phones; each of those transactions will cost 45 cents. -- AP



S&P cuts some banks' ratings


Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is adjusting the credit ratings on 37 of the world's largest financial institutions, including downgrading the biggest banks in the U.S. Bank of America Corp. and its main subsidiaries were among those cut at least one notch yesterday, along with Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. S&P says the changes reflect its new ratings criteria for banks, which incorporate shifts in the worldwide financial industry and macroeconomic trends, including the role of governments and central banks in industry funding. -- AP

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