Google, Apple, Amazon, More: Evening Buzz, February 6th, 2015

Google Street View has come to Bangladesh.

More Google: it now has a mortgage calculator.

More More Google: it looks like Google’s new “Local Guides” program is now live. “The Local Guides program, for those unfamiliar, is meant to help Google increase the number of high-quality business reviews on its site by encouraging top reviewers to post more often in exchange for a variety of benefits. Today, these include things like access to an email newsletter, the opportunity to join Hangouts with other reviewers, the ability host and attend special meetups, the ability to moderate Local Guides Google+ communities, access to other exclusive events, and more.”

Are nonprofit forms going to get more accessible? “An effort to make nonprofit tax forms and data more accessible and searchable online took a potentially big step forward after a judge’s ruling last week. U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California gave the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 60 days to comply with a nearly two-year-old Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking Form 990s of nine tax-exempt organizations in a searchable, electronic format.”

An interesting data point for the online video wars: 25% of online Super Bowl ad views happened on Facebook.

Is Apple going to get its own version of Street View? “Apple is testing out some mysterious vehicles that are equipped with mounted cameras, according to reports. The minivans, which resemble Google’s fleet of Street View vehicles, have been spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area. The cars could mean that Apple is interested in adding a similar version of Street View — the 360-degree viewer feature in Google Maps — to its own maps platform.”

Amazon has released a new app to convert paper books to Kindle copies. “Amazon says that the app works by turning scans of English-language printed books and documents into ebooks. A user can either elect to leave a scanned page as an image, or run the image through Amazon’s OCR software and convert it to text. If you stick with the image, you can crop the image, rotate it, center it on a page, and perform other basic image editing tricks. The text generated via OCR can be edited to remove errors, and styled.” Meh. If I need to convert something to a digital format I’ll use a more universal format like PDF.

How about an “Imgur for sound”? Check out Clyp. “The service is ridiculously easy to use. Simply drag and drop an audio file and it’s uploaded to Clyp. The company’s site contains sections for popular sound files, recently uploaded files, and featured files.”

You’ve probably seen this everywhere but it’s still important enough to mention again: the Library of Congress has opened the Rosa Parks collection. “The collection contains approximately 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs. Items in the Library’s Manuscript Division can be consulted during reading room hours; the pictures in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division will be available by appointment. Later this year, selected collection items will be accessible online.”

YouTube is trying something a bit different: “videos that let you switch between different camera angles while the video is playing. These multi-angle videos are only an experiment right now and there’s only one video that actually showcases this feature so far.” Good evening, Internet…

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