Baidu, Google, Yandex, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, May 18th, 2015

USEFUL STUFF

From IT Business: 6 Ways to Back Up Your GMail Account.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From the Irish Times: How to De-Google Your Life. “Instead of cash, people pay Google in kind: with their identity, their behaviour, their habits and their preferences. Google collates and analyses this user data on a global scale, sells it to advertisers and, according to Edward Snowden, more than occasionally gifts it to US and other intelligence services. Viewed from a distance, Google is operating the largest instalment plan in human history.”

So apparently Elon Musk is worried that Google’s Larry Page is going to accidentally destroy mankind with a robot army? The only conclusion I can reach is my friends aren’t interesting enough. The only thing I’m worried about my husband accidentally destroying is my sweaters if he washes them in hot water (again).

Chinese search engine Baidu is getting into artificial intelligence. “The new computer, called Minwa and located in Beijing, has 72 powerful processors and 144 graphics processors, known as GPUs. Late Monday, Baidu released a paper claiming that the computer had been used to train machine-learning software that set a new record for recognizing images, beating a previous mark set by Google.”

From BuzzFeed (and it’s not every day that I link to something in BuzzFeed): E-mail shows how Google Gets Things Done in Washington. “On the evening of March 23, Johanna Shelton, a senior lobbyist at Google, emailed an official at the Federal Trade Commission with a pointed request: release a public statement that would help the search giant deal with a negative story. Two days later, the agency did just that.”

Former Google PR people are just basically everywhere. “The Google PR ‘diaspora’ now runs communications at many of the most important Valley companies. That includes Facebook, Twitter TWTR -0.62%, Tesla, Square, Yahoo YHOO -0.46%, Lyft, Uber, Pinterest and Snapchat (that one, technically not in the Valley, but of the Valley). ”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The Next Web: Why I’m Breaking Up With Google Chrome. “When Chrome debuted for the first time in 2008 it was the fastest browser on the block. It was light, nimble, extensible and easy to use compared to Firefox, which had become slow and cumbersome. In the past few years, I’ve stuck with it, even as it became a memory hog, unstable and a major drain on battery life.” When I work I have Firefox, Chrome, and Chromium open at the same time, with occasionally Opera thrown in for good measure. Chrome has not given me nearly as many problems as Chromium has.

This is interesting! Phil Bradley takes a look at Russian search engine Yandex as a possible alternative to Google.

From Indian Country Today: Zuckerberg vs. Crazy Horse. “Apparently the maestros behind the scenes of your favorite online guilty pleasure-social media experience known as FaceBook (FB) think that Native Americans could not possibly have such absurd surnames as Nighthorse, ManKiller or Crazy Horse. Take the case of Ms. Deloria Many Grey Horses. Over the past few weeks FaceBook has suspended Ms. Many Grey Horses’s account for using a ‘fake name.'” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Twitter, Census Bureau, Flickr, More: Saturday Afternoon Buzz, May 16th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a database aggregating the deaths of migrants who were attempting to reach southern European borders. “The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe.”

PetGroomer.com, an Web site for professional pet groomers (as you may have guessed) now has an online archive of its radio shows going back to 2005.

USEFUL STUFF

Useful for a given value of Saturday: Want to add animated GIFs to your e-mail? There’s a Chrome extension for that.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TweetDeck has added a new feature to help prevent Twitter misfires. “It’s a social media pro’s worst nightmare: posting a personal tweet on a brand account. It can be embarrassing and potentially career-threatening. To guard against such errant tweets, TweetDeck added a safety net today, giving users the option to require a confirmation step before sending a tweet.”

TunnelBear’s VPN is now available as a Chrome extension.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The US Census Bureau is participating the National Civic Day of Hacking (PRESS RELEASE). “The U.S. Census Bureau is participating in this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking by launching the “City SDK Open Data Solutions Challenge.” This challenge encourages developers to use the Census Bureau’s new City Software Development Kit (SDK), a new tool that makes the bureau’s API (application programming interface) easier to use. As part of this national event, the Census Bureau will also participate in the 2015 Urban Sustainability Apps Competition, where developers have the opportunity to create apps using the City SDK.”

Guess what? Google Hangouts don’t actually have end-to-end encryption. “Following a Reddit AMA on government surveillance, Google has admitted that while it does encrypt Hangouts conversations, it does not use end-to-end encryption, meaning the company itself can tap into those sessions when it receives a government court order requiring it to do so.”

More critical security fixes from Adobe and Microsoft (what a surprise). “Microsoft today issued 13 patch bundles to fix roughly four dozen security vulnerabilities in Windows and associated software. Separately, Adobe pushed updates to fix a slew of critical flaws in its Flash Player and Adobe Air software, as well as patches to fix holes in Adobe Reader and Acrobat.”

Flickr users are not happy with the auto-tagging feature of the revamped service, and Flickr may let them opt out. “…for many Flickr users, tags are something they still feel strongly about, judging by the forum’s many comments. With over 1,370 replies to the official Flickr post (and growing), these users have been venting their frustration about the addition of auto-tagging. Many of those commenting have actually been fairly conscientious about their tags over the years, and don’t like that Flickr is now adding its own tags to their photos.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Harvard Business School: a research paper on humblebragging. Spoiler: it doesn’t work. Good afternoon, Internet…

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U Texas, Cars, Lycos (!), More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, May 15th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The University of Texas system has launched a database of UT-related experts. “Influuent is a free online searchable database of researchers and resources that enable potential collaborators to easily identify faculty experts to conduct all levels of research (basic, applied and clinical), develop new technologies and processes and overcome technical challenges….Influuent’s search tool scans and analyzes every publication in Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature that’s updated weekly. That data is used to produce a fingerprint of each researcher’s expertise.”

Under development: a digital archive of South African oral and performance poetry.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

VERY specific: How to hack your smartphone to take good photographs of birds.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google’s self-driving cars are hitting the road this summer. “…we’re announcing the next step for our project: this summer, a few of the prototype vehicles we’ve created will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with our safety drivers aboard.”

More Google: apparently Google’s App Engine has come security problems. “Posted on Friday by Adam Gowdiak, Security Explorations’ analysis of security issues in the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product notes that approximately 30 security vulnerabilities were originally discovered by Security Explorations and later resolved by the tech giant. However, at least five vulnerabilities remain, and Google’s radio silence over the past three weeks has led the firm to publicly disclose details of the unpatched issues.”

Remember Lycos? It was one of the early search engines before the first bust around 2000. Now it’s back with A consumer products division (PRESS RELEASE). “Lycos will launch two products in June that will simplify the way people leverage the Internet for their daily use. While Lycos’ past endeavors have helped consumers learn and utilize the Internet, its new suite of hard goods will “learn” the user and allow people to live within the Internet.” Very few details in the press release.

As you’ve probably heard, Google has shut down the Map Maker tool after some embarrassing hacks. Because after being a search engine on the Internet since 1998, Google had no idea there were any such things as vandals. They’re shocked, I tell you, shocked.

The Public Takes a look at how Buffalo, New York has changed through Google Street View. The article compares shots from 2007 and 2015. It helps that the 2007 shots were taken on an overcast day, while the 2015 shots are under a bright blue sky, but even with that in mind the differences are impressive.

Like the Beatles? TidBITS takes you on Google’s Abbey Road tour.

MIT Technology Review does a quick interview with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

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!

Google, Facebook, Yelp, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, May 12th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Make Google Maps Legotastic with Brick Street View. “There are two ways to explore it. You can move around a bird’s-eye-view map to see blocks of bumpy baseplates, shiny trees, and national landmarks like the Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower. Or you can drag and drop your denim-clad guide to obtain street-level views, which introduce various Lego artifacts like police cars, dead-eyed figurines, and fried egg-looking flowers.”

USEFUL STUFF

Oh, I love the idea behind Peruse: a natural language search for your cloud documents. “Peruse’s natural language file search works for business documents of any file type, albeit the NLP tech only currently works for the English language. The service is also initially limited to documents stored in either Box or Dropbox cloud storage repositories — but it intends to expand to integrate with more such services.”

Maybe not so useful: Play with old versions of Windows in your browser. I’m afraid I’ll have flashbacks of trying to get Trumpet Winsock to work.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google Drive’s OCR capabilities have been expanded. “Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology aims to turn pictures of text into computer text that can be indexed, searched, and edited. For some time, Google Drive has provided OCR capabilities. Recently, we expanded this state-of-the-art technology to support all of the world’s major languages – that’s over 200 languages in more than 25 writing systems.”

More new stuff from FamilySearch. “Notable collection updates include 2,983,594 indexed records from the Croatia, Church Books, 1516–1994 collection; 57,446 indexed records and 1,785,969 images from the Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880–1999 collection; and 1,087,758 indexed records from the Costa Rica Civil Registration, 1860–1975 collection.”

Google has launched a Chrome extension to gather feedback about its browser. “The new Chrome User Experience Surveys extension will occasionally pop up brief surveys about the user’s experience when something unusual happens in the browser. That could be a notification or a malware warning, for example, and Google says it will take the user feedback to improve Chrome.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Pllbbt. Google is going to stop showing emojis in its search results.

Facebook beating you over the head with birthday notifications? That was a bug.

This is what happens when you ‘bot everything: Google Answers linking to a dead RadioShack page.

Is Yelp seeking a buyer? “While Internet users have increasingly searched for restaurants and points of interest in their cities and neighborhoods, Yelp and others have had difficulty turning the small businesses that populate the local economy into paying advertisers, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at investment bank B. Riley & Co. in San Francisco.” I find this funny because the company for which I work has been advertising on Yelp for over a year. We want to advertise in a couple of other markets but we’re repeatedly told “There’s not enough inventory available.” I can’t even buy what they have; it’s a package or nothing. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Lenovo, NOAA, Medium, More: Wednesday Morning Buzz, April 22nd, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

A guy who lost his job because of offensive tweets has created a new app so the same thing doesn’t happen to other people. “The app, releasing publicly Monday, scours a user’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram histories for potentially inflammatory or damaging posts, and makes their removal a breeze. It’s designed for the next generation in the workforce, who grew up sharing vast amounts of information online, some of which may become a liability in their future careers.”

Another historic newspaper, this time from New York, is available online. “Nate Austin, director of the library, said The Allegany Citizen was printed between March 21, 1896, and Dec. 16, 1976, and carried news and articles from the town and village of Allegany. The newspaper was printed in a building across from the library on West Main Street. ”

USEFUL STUFF

Own a Lenovo laptop? The laptop battery recall of a little more than a year ago has Been expanded to over 160,000 units from the original 37,000 units. Check your machine.

Want to watch YouTube videos without related content? You’ve got a few options.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Twitter is expanding who can send and receive DMs.

Google has brought information about Robben Island, a South Africa historical site, online.

Google has introduced a rule that Web sites must be mobile-friendly or suffer in Google’s rankings. Wired has an overview. For the record, ResearchBuzz is, according to Google’s assessment tool, mobile friendly.

The NOAA has expanded its coastal flooding information tool. “A NOAA flood exposure risk mapping tool that was developed in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania has now been expanded to cover coastal areas along the entire U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.”

Google Takeout is letting you export more stuff. Is this an early attempt to defuse accusations of a monopoly or am I just being cynical?

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Congratulations to TidBITS for 25 wonderful years!

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Dutch organizations are warning that the Internet is not a reliable archive. Yeah. And?

Chris Abraham wants you to try Medium. 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!