Googly Afternoon Buzz, April 21, 2015


The World Health Organization has launched global access to the WHO Global Medicines Safety Database. “VigiAccess is a new web application that will allow anyone to access information on reported cases of adverse events related to over 150 000 medicines and vaccines. More than ten million cases from over 120 countries are held in VigiBaseTM , the WHO database of suspected adverse reaction reports maintained by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden.”


Useful for a given value of useful. But cool: Star Wars emoji.


Wha? Scary story about SoundCloud. “Here’s a wakeup call to audio creators everywhere: SoundCloud does not recognize your fair use rights under U.S. copyright law. If your content contains any copyrighted material to which you haven’t secured the rights — even if you have a valid fair use claim — SoundCloud may take it down at any time.”

10 ways to check facts when using search engines and social media. Some of this stuff is blindingly obvious, but not all.

Google’s country search filter apparently has or had a bug. I have a similar problem when trying to search Google news for state-specific sources. In fact, Google News has gotten sadder and sadder in comparison to Bing News.

Is France going to try to force Google to reveal how its algorithm works? “…the upper house of parliament yesterday voted to support an amendment to a draft economy bill that would require search engines to display at least three rivals on their homepage. And also to reveal the workings of their search ranking algorithms to ensure they deliver fair and non-discriminatory results. Given that Google has a circa 90% share of the search market in France these amendments, although not specifically naming any companies, are aimed squarely at Mountain View.”

Speaking of algorithms, check out this timeline of Google algorithm updates. It starts in 2000. Wow I’m old.

Wow. Google’s push notifications for Chrome are getting plenty of early love. “Today, Google has revealed that early adopters have already signed on to leverage the feature in Chrome for desktop and Android. These include Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, Product Hunt,’s Fansided, and Vice News. Furthermore, Roost and Mobify have started letting developers integrate web-based push notifications into their sites.”

From Mashable: Google is having a bad year. A rundown of all Google’s challenges, regulatory and otherwise. There’s an f-bomb.


An interesting blog post from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on the challenges of digitizing video. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Livestreaming, Genealogy, Pocket, More: Fat Morning Buzz, April 21, 2015


Ancestry has launched Ancestry Academy. “We are excited to announce the launch of Ancestry Academy, a new educational website that offers exclusive, high-quality video courses taught by genealogy and family history experts. Ancestry Academy courses cover a wide range of relevant family history topics and offer something for genealogists of all levels.” This is a pay resource.

Genealogy site HistoryLines has launched. HistoryLines is “… a site that helps you create personalized life stories for your ancestors with historical context, photos and an interactive map…”

All of a sudden livestreaming is a thing. And it’s a big thing! In fact, here comes another livestreaming app. “For one, no plugins or software downloads are necessary for Rhinobird — you can use the Android app, Chrome, Firefox or other WebRTC-enabled browser on PC, Mac, or Linux to access the service (an iPhone app is slated to release later this year). It also claims to be the fastest live video app in the market: Mere seconds after recording on Rhinobird, you’ll have a permalink to a video that can be downloaded and embedded on a website, blog or elsewhere. Rhinobird works across Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp, and best of all, promises great quality even when a lot of people are watching a livestream on the same network.”


Web reading app Pocket has launched a new site design. I love Pocket except I wish that the number of items I had to read were numbered. Though that probably means just depressing myself unnecessarily.

The latest place on Google Street View? Why, it’s Loch Ness.

Dropbox has launched a bug bounty program. “In fact, Dropbox has decided to retroactively reward hackers who responsibly reported critical bugs in its applications. More specifically, the company is paying out $10,475 to 24 security researchers today (the largest payout was $4,913).”

FamilySearch has done another update. “Notable collection updates include 700,220 indexed records from the US, Alabama, County Marriages, 1809–1950 collection; 461,167 indexed records from the US, Montana, Cascade County Records, 1880–2009 collection; and 380,334 indexed records from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980 collection.”


YouTube is now available for browsing in 15 new languages. “The new languages on offer are: Albanian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Georgian, Kazak, Khmer, Kirghiz, Lao, Macedonian, Mongolian, Myanmar, Nepali, Punjabi, Sinhala and Uzbek.”

This new Rolodex tool at the Dallas Morning News sounds great. “… an open source tool that lets reporters contribute to a newsroom system of contacts. But the app can also serve as the backend to news apps that surface contact information or show the strength of networks. Think of it like this: Morning News reporters can use Rolodex to create a database of emails and phone number for, say, records officials across Dallas County — but they can also show how those people and organizations are interconnected.”

The Gadgeteer reviews Google Keep.

The Atlantic is doing some really nice writing about the Internet. Check out this article on Google’s efforts to eliminate its own biases.

Google Wallet funds are now FDIC insured.

Google has done an extensive update for Android Wear.

Wow: apparently Google might have bought Tesla in 2013.


From the Chronicle of Higher Education: using Twitter to teach introductory statistics. “I require my students to open a new Twitter account for the course so their focus can be professional. They must find and follow 10 new organizations a week (until they have 50) that use statistics prominently in their Twitter feeds. Students must post seven statistical tweets a week. Every week I assign different topics to study and tweet about. By the end of the semester, students have produced an account with more than 50 statistical entities and around 100 statistical tweets.” Good morning, Internet…

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Arizona, Hogwarts, Bob Dole, More: Sunday Afternoon Buzz, April 19, 2015


The Dole Institute has launched an online exhibit of Bob Dole’s WWII letters. “The Dole family donated the letters, which document the military experiences of Bob Dole and his brother, Kenneth Dole. The exhibition currently showcases a selection of letters written between Bob Dole and members of his family beginning from the day before his first day of school at KU in September 1941 through his time in recovery at the Percy Jones General Hospital in April 1947. Additional letters will be released on an ongoing basis.”

Geologic maps for Arizona counties are going online.

Search Engine Land has started a new award – the “Landy”. “Search Engine Land is proud to launch a new industry awards program, “The Landy Awards” (#TheLandys) to recognize individuals, agencies and internal marketing teams within the digital marketing community who have demonstrated excellence in executing organic and paid search marketing initiatives.”


From Ubergizmo: How to edit PDF files for free.

No, you don’t have to use Photoshop or Paint: there are many many great free photo editing services and apps. Have I mentioned lately how much I love PicMonkey? They don’t pay me a dime. In fact, I paid them several dimes. But I really like them.

It’s not really useful, but it’s Sunday, so cut me some slack. Are you still waiting to be sorted into your Hogwarts house? This Twitter bot will do it for you randomly along with supplying a weird rhyme. Also, when I saw the URL for the story I linked to I snorted tea out my nose. Ow. Thankfully it was cold tea.


Tumblr’s iOS app has been updated.

Twitter has launched a new home page. “It’s notable the company showcases broad categories rather than the trending topics it popularized, for instance. Although trends are Twitter’s bread and butter, showcasing the range of topics the platform can cover on a general basis, rather than whatever is trending at any given moment, could help ease new users in by positing the page as a general hub for news.” It’s so interesting to me; Twitter is easy to use, but if you want research or information out of it, it’s difficult to use well/efficiently.


Have you tried Wolfram|Alpha’s tool to analyze your Facebook account? If you haven’t you better hurry up. “By now, millions of people have used Wolfram|Alpha to analyze their own activity and generate detailed analyses of their Facebook friend networks. A few years ago, we took data generously contributed by thousands of “data donors” and used the Wolfram Language’s powerful tools for social network analysis, machine learning, and data visualization to uncover fascinating insights into the demographics and interests of Facebook users. At the end of this month, however, Facebook will be deprecating the API we relied on to extract much of this information.”

Ask Slashdot asks: What features would you like in a search engine? Good afternoon, Internet…

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NJ, NC, XP, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, April 19, 2015


Now available: an online archive of political speeches and ads from female candidates. “The archives include speeches Clinton made as secretary of state, New York’s first female U.S. senator and as first lady of Arkansas and the United States. Kelly Winfrey, a lecturer for the Catt Center, says to date there are nearly 2,000 speeches and political ads for more than 300 women candidates that are easily accessible through the online archives. All include a transcript of the text and many also feature video.”

Businesses in New Jersey have a new anti-fraud tool (PRESS RELEASE). “The new service automatically checks for legal business filings on a daily basis. Customers who sign up for the service indicate which businesses they wish to monitor, and designate the representatives who should receive filing alerts. For each business monitored, a text or email alert will be sent whenever the Division files a change or amendment.” If I’m reading the Web page correctly it costs $24 a year.

The state of North Carolina has an open data dashboard for reporters. Oh, this is ridiculous. I’m in love. “Open N.C. has collected information from nearly 9 million public records across the state and organized them into a single database that reporters can search from a simple Web interface. It’s a growing dataset, much of it updated daily. It also uses the records to look for patterns that might tip off reporters to potential story ideas.”


Google has released Chrome 42. “In addition to the usual list of security fixes (45 in total) and under-the-hood changes for stability and performance, Google’s latest release includes its new Push API and Notifications API.”

Another day, another pile of Flash and Java patches.


Google is dumping the old version of Google Maps. Sigh.

Tinder is hooking up with Instagram. Get it? Get it? This is what’s funny when you’ve had very little sleep for a week. “Tinder now also supports common connections, letting users see the degree to which they’re separated from a person based on the social graph, as well as presenting all Facebook interests instead of just common interests.”

Rumors are flying that Yahoo is going to buy FourSquare.

I learned a new word – Instaspam – from this article on how to protect yourself.

Google’s getting ready to launch Project Loon.

Still using XP? (Shudder.) Google has extended XP support for Chrome to the end of the year.

FamilySearch’s online book collection has reached its 200,000th volume milestone! Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Poetry, Iowa, Trolls, More: Saturday Afternoon Buzz, April 18, 2015


Abbey Road is now on Google Street View.

The Internet Archive and CADAL are teaming up to digitize 500,000 academic texts. “The Chinese Academic Digital Associative Library (CADAL) is a consortium of over 70 Chinese University Libraries. CADAL will provide access to a leading set of libraries, the technical resources to display, and share the books inside China, as well as the staff needed for digitization. The Internet Archive will select the books, and provide equipment and processing resources. Both organizations will offer access and discovery tools for both scholars and citizen-scholars. Together, CADAL and the Internet Archive are contributing to a growing, global digital library.”

The State Historical Society of Iowa has made all the back issues of its quarterly publication available online for free. Nice.

The Library of Congress has started a new site with recordings of poetry and literature. “Available as streamed audio, the archive will launch online with 50 recordings. Additional material from the collection will be added on a monthly basis.”


Are you having trouble keeping up with all the different plans for providing public access to federally-funded research? there’s a great summary table here.

It ain’t just Facebook. Here’s a roundup of 91 social networks around the world.


Apparently Twitter has filed a bucketload of trademark applications. Did it coin the phrase “tweetstorm”?

Google’s starting a new program that will highlight kid-safe apps.

The EU has finally filed a formal antitrust complaint against Google. “The more confrontational route could mean years of legal wrangling — as well as fines worth billions. The EU can impose fines of 10 percent on annual revenue, or some $6 billion, and force the Mountain View, California, company to overhaul its system for recommending websites in Europe.”


I’ll take two, please: Scientists develop algorithm that can auto-ban trolls. “The broad profile of the [Future Banned User] as presented by the paper is that of a semi-literate, provocative and fairly persistent poster, whose descent into totally anti-social behaviour is summoned at inverse speed to that with which the host community rejects them, and whose final posts before a permanent ban are characterised by persistent and heated battle on a small number of topics.” Good afternoon, Internet..

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!