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  #6  
Old 12-13-2009, 12:22 PM
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6. LinkedIn

Pink slip? Get LinkedIn. In a down economy, the "grown-up" social networking site ballooned to 50 million members (someone joins every second, including ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin) in more than 200 countries. It's also worth a cool billion, give or take. Since its '03 launch, LinkedIn has built its ranks more slowly than Facebook or Twitter, but it has one thing the trendier sites can't claim: profits.



The career-minded site has been thriving on the recession by embracing the newly jobless masses and connecting them with people who can hire them (executives from every Fortune 500 company are on LinkedIn). Shrewd moves like recent linkups with BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Twitter keep the company looking forward as the economy starts to brighten.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:23 PM
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5. iPhone

Last January, Apple followers and investors were shaken when CEO Steve Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, announced that he was going on a six-month medical leave due to health problems "more complex" than originally thought. Some wondered if he would ever return, and how his absence would impact the once-struggling company that he revived with innovative products like the iPhone.



But return he did, and this time with a new liver. And during Jobs' absence, the iPhone line got its own new additions: OS 3.0 and the 3GS model. With 6.4 million active users, the iPhone certainly has no shortage of fans—or fan-created apps. But with the recent release of Google's Android 2.0 OS, some wonder if the iPhone has finally met its match.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:23 PM
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4. Bing

Bing, Microsoft's new search engine (or "decision engine," as the company calls it), launched in June to much marketing fanfare. TV viewers chuckled knowingly at its commercials, featuring poor souls suffering from "Search Overload Syndrome," an affliction that Bing would undoubtedly cure them of.



But clever commercials aside, are people actually using Bing? Yes—9.4% of people, in fact. And once Yahoo!'s search pages are "powered by Bing" (thanks to a deal inked in July), that figure might increase to 28%. And just why was the name "Bing" chosen? According to CEO Steve Ballmer, because it can "verb up." So will "just Bing it" become a household phrase like "just Google it"? Only time will tell.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:24 PM
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3. Hulu

Hulu's "evil plot to take over the world" seems to be going smoothly. So how exactly is the video site luring TV viewers from their sets and getting some to cancel their cable service altogether? One word: free. Hulu's ad-funded business model and growing number of content providers means free TV shows and movies for its audience, and its user-friendly interface has made the site stand out among its competitors.


So when a stakeholder said that Hulu would probably start charging users by 2010, a ruckus predictably ensued. Hulu has since qualified that statement, although its "capitalist" CEO said he's "very bullish about the future of Hulu." Our advice? Watch all the free "Family Guy" while you can!
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:24 PM
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2. Twitter

This year's social-media sweetheart made a splash (literally) when a Twitter user posted the first photo of the US Airways Flight 1549 evacuation in the Hudson River. A few months later, even more folks were introduced to the microblogging service when actor Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to see who could get more Twitter followers.



The company made headlines all year long, thanks to account hijackers, tweeting astronauts, White House updates, Iranian election protesters, overly revealing politicians, and Balloon Boy. "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau turned Twitter's ubiquity into parodies that begged the question many had begun to ask themselves: Were all five billion of those tweets really necessary?
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