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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• Google sharpens local business search

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc., world’s most popular search engine, started rolling out a new way to show information about local businesses on Wednesday.

When Google detects that a search is for merchants or things to do in a specific city, it will now devote the entire results page to key data about the places mentioned in the request. For example, a query such as "San Francisco Mexican restaurants" might produce an entire page of results listing different places to eat, accompanied by a map, phone numbers, addresses and reviews.

Google traditionally has presented information about similar merchants in the same city over several pages. The company’s engineers recognized this scattershot approach was frustrating users and making them do multiple searches.

The new system began affecting results Wednesday, although it could take several days before the new "Place Search" feature is available throughout the world. Google has sifted through hundreds of millions of Web pages to compile information about more than 50 million different locations.

Google expects the new feature to become a cornerstone of its service because more than 20 percent of its search requests include something about a particular location. When Google doesn’t automatically detect a request is about a particular location, users will be able to re-focus the results by clicking on a "Places" link on the left side of the page.

• Telsa unveils electric car plant in California

FREMONT, California — Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. unveiled its retooled factory in Fremont where it plans to produce its next-generation electric sedan in partnership with Toyota.

Although production of the Model S sedan is not expected to begin until 2012, Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn said new equipment needed to make electric cars has already been brought in. She said about 70 workers have been hired.

The work force is expected to be around 1,200 when production reaches its peak.

"This plant was really the one that we always hoped we could get but really didn’t think we could ever afford," said Telsa CEO Elon Musk.

Nummi was a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Toyota until the Detroit auto giant filed for bankruptcy last year. Tesla is now in a partnership with Toyota.

The Model S is designed to travel more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) on a three- to five-hour charge. Tesla plans to sell the electric sedan for $49,900, including federal tax credits.

"Model S is blazing a new trail for the industry, and it will all happen right here," Musk said. "This is a momentous day in Tesla history, turning our advanced electric vehicle technology into a mass manufacturing reality."

• Yahoo hires former News Corp. exec

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo Inc. is turning to a former Internet sharpshooter at News Corp.’s media empire to fill a big hole on its management team.

In a hiring announced late Wednesday, Ross Levinsohn will be Yahoo’s executive vice president in charge the company’s advertising sales, media division and business partnerships in North America, Central America and South America. He will report to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, although he will be based in the company’s Santa Monica office instead of its Sunnyvale headquarters.

Although he left News Corp. nearly four years ago, Levinsohn is still best known for orchestrating that company’s $580 million acquisition of the online hangout MySpace.com in 2005. The deal was seen as an Internet-savvy move by News Corp., a traditional media company that owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, Fox television network and The Wall Street Journal.

Levinsohn made the acquisition look even better in 2006 when he sold MySpace’s search advertising rights to Google Inc. for $900 million in 2006, but the site has been overtaken in recent years by Facebook.

MySpace’s inability to keep pace with Facebook triggered a reorganization that brought in one of Levinsohn’s business partners, Jon Miller, to shake things up. Miller had been working with Levinsohn at an Internet investment fund, Velocity Interactive Group, now known as Fuse Capital.

Levinsohn is leaving that fund to join Yahoo to replace Hilary Schneider, who announced her resignation last month along with two other top executives.

The defections raised doubts about Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s efforts to revive the company’s revenue growth and lift its long-sagging stock price.

• Nintendo is in the red for first time in seven years

TOKYO — Nintendo sank to a first-half loss, its first in seven years, as a rising yen and long-delayed release of its 3-D gaming machine set the scene for a weak full-year result.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co., which makes Pokemon and Super Mario video games, said Thursday it posted a 2.01 billion yen ($24.7 million) loss for the six months through September. First-half sales dropped nearly 34 percent to 363.2 billion yen ($4.46 billion).

Nintendo last month shocked the gaming world by announcing its much awaited 3DS, a handheld packed with glasses-free 3-D technology, wouldn’t be ready for the year-end shopping season when Nintendo rakes in about two-thirds of its earnings.

It will be released in February in Japan — missing Christmas and then January, a key sales month because of the New Year’s gifts Japanese children get. Releases for Europe and the U.S. will follow in March.

The half-year loss is the first for the maker of the Wii home console and DS handheld since 2003.