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Consumer Confidential: Postal woes, Kodak woes, Google privacy

February 09, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • The Postal Service's money troubles are worsening.
The Postal Service's money troubles are worsening. ( Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty…)

Here's your theme-from-Shaft Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--The Postal Service's troubles get worse and worse. The agency says that it lost $3.3 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31 and that it expects to run out of cash in October unless Congress agrees to cuts in facilities and employees. This was the ninth straight quarter of losses. The Postal Service, which doesn’t receive taxpayer funding, last year reached its $15-billion borrowing limit from the U.S. Treasury and has forecast a record $14.1-billion loss for this fiscal year. The service wants to eliminate as many as 220,000 jobs and close as much as 12% of its post offices, among other changes. (Bloomberg)

--And speaking of things getting worse, bankrupt Eastman Kodak says it will phase out the unit that makes digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames. Kodak will instead try to license its brand to other makers of the devices as it exits cameras in the first half of 2012. The move reduces Kodak’s consumer offerings to printing photos and selling inkjet printers, as the 131-year-old imaging company shrinks into a digital printing specialist that intends to sell more digital printers to profit from ink sales. (Bloomberg)

--Looking for some extra cash? Google will pay you $25 to give up your privacy. The company's Screenwise Project aims to gather data on Internet use from a school group of Netizens. In return for allowing Google to look over your shoulder as you traverse the Web. the company will give you $25 Amazon gift card. To become a Screenwise member, you must be at least 13, have a Google account or sign up for a Google account, and use the Google Chrome browser while searching the Web. You can opt out any time you feel things are getting a little too Big Brotherish. (Los Angeles Times)

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