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You're losing iGoogle

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is getting rid of a service that allows people to personalize its home page with applications such as weather updates and stock quotes.

The customization service, known as iGoogle, will be turned off in November 2013, Google said this week. It's being swept out as part of a periodic housecleaning that has seen Google scrap more than 30 products or services since co-founder Larry Page became CEO 15 months ago.

The scheduled termination will come eight years after Google first offered the personalization. It had been seen as a way to encourage people to return to Google often for information they were interested in. It also encouraged more people to create Google accounts, which made it easier for the company to identify their individual interests.

Fewer seats fly empty

CALGARY -- WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX:WJA) and Air Canada reported Thursday there was a smaller proportion of empty seats on their flights in June compared with a year ago, as the summer travel season kicked off.

Calgary-based WestJet posted a load factor -- the proportion of seats filled on its flights -- of 79 per cent for June. That's up from 75.7 per cent in June 2011, when Air Canada suffered a brief strike. The increase came as passenger traffic climbed 6.7 per cent from the same time last year, while capacity increased 2.3 per cent.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) reported a June load factor of 85.6 per cent, up from 84.2 per cent a year ago. Traffic increased 1.5 per cent, while capacity slipped 0.1 per cent.

Banking industry probed

LONDON -- British lawmakers voted Thursday to allow a parliamentary committee to investigate the banking industry in the wake of an interest-rate-manipulation scandal at Barclays, rejecting opposition calls for a lengthier external inquiry led by a judge.

Following a noisy and bitter debate in the House of Commons, legislators voted 330 to 226 in favour of establishing a parliamentary committee to carry out the study, intended to be a learning opportunity.

Despite voting against the plan and pressing for a judge-led inquiry -- similar to Britain's current media industry ethics probe -- the opposition Labour party said it would co-operate.

Chinese duties unfair: U.S.

WASHINGTON -- The United States launched a trade complaint Thursday against China at the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of unfairly imposing duties on more than $3 billion in exports of American-produced automobiles. The announcement came as U.S. President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in the battleground state of Ohio, where automakers have been affected by the tariffs imposed in December.

American retail sales slow

NEW YORK -- U.S. shoppers, worried about jobs and the economy, pulled back on spending in June, slowing sales for most retailers to the weakest pace since 2009. That could leave merchants on edge, wondering if they'll will spend more when the back-to-school season starts in late July.

Boeing delivers 287 planes

CHICAGO -- Boeing Co. said Thursday it has delivered 287 commercial airplanes so far this year, including 11 of its new 787s.

Boeing said it delivered 150 commercial planes in the second quarter -- six of its 787s, 109 of its 737s, seven of its superjumbo 747s, six of its long-haul 767s and 22 of its 777s.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2012 B8

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