Barnes and Noble: Shares of Barnes & Noble plummeted Thursday after the company’s announcement that it will explore options to spin-off its Nook digital unit. Company stock had fallen more than 20 percent in morning trading, a response to a company release that also disclosed that Barnes & Noble has lowered its yearly revenue guidance.

The release also reported “record” Nook sales, divulging that sales of the Nook Tablet eclipsed expectations. The Nook Tablet has a screen and overall layout more suited to reading than the cheaper Kindle Fire, though it still falls behind the Fire when it comes to the diversity of video available on the device. Sales of its Nook Simple Touch, however, fell short of projections.

Google: There are plenty of Android tablets on the market, but none have captured a portion of market share that can come close to rivaling the iPad. Right now, it looks like the Kindle Fire is the most successful of all of them. Amazon has modified the Kindle Fire so much that it’s hardly recognizable as an Android tablet.

So it might make sense for Google to jump into the tablet game, particularly after the launch of Ice Cream Sandwich, its unified tablet and smartphone platform. Last month, Google chairman Eric Schmidt was quoted by the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera as saying that Google would soon market its own tablet. Since then, there’s been a flurry of speculation about what the tablet would look like.

CES preview: Often a bit more substantial than what one can pick up from the hustle and bustle of the showroom floor, the keynote speeches at the annual Consumer Electronics Show can set the tone for the year ahead.

This year — apart from Microsoft’s usual (but final) keynote speech — the speakers’ list draws heavily from mobile carriers and manufacturers as well as automakers, though stalwarts such as Xerox and General Electric, are represented as well.

FCC names new chief of staff: Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Thursday that he will appoint the agency’s chief counsel, Zachary Katz, as chief of staff, effective at the end of the month.

Katz, who has been in his current position for a little more than six months, was previously an agency legal adviser. He replaces Eddie Lazarus, who resigned in mid-December.

Spain’s online piracy law: The Spanish government recently passed a law with provisions that some have compared to the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation that’s currently making its way through the House Judiciary Committee.

The Spanish law, as reported by the BBC, allows for the Spanish government to require Internet service providers to block sites that host infringing content. Unlike SOPA, however, the law deals with domestic sites and would set up a separate government agency to deal with anti-piracy cases.