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Facebook, Twitter, Google, More: Wednesday Buzz, July 29th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Under development a digital database of early Mormon polygamous marriages. “[Kathleen] Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, is concentrating her research on the small town of Nauvoo, Illinois from 1842 to 1852, a decade that included some of Mormonism’s first plural marriages. At the time, both the public at large and many within the church itself were opposed to the practice, which the church officially banned in 1890. Working with U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, where she is a 2014-16 faculty fellow, Flake has begun cataloguing every plural marriage undertaken in that period, using genealogies kept by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Early Mormon Marriage database will include basic identifying information about each participant and as much relational information as possible, to shed light on how each member of the community was connected and what motivated their unions.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Facebook is apparently testing profile tags ala LinkedIn. If enacted this will give my friend Dan Lyke and I many more opportunities for silliness. “And like LinkedIn, you can assign tags to yourself, or your friends can assign them at your approval. And being Facebook, you can create whatever tag you want — you won’t have to pick from a set list. You can even use emoji — and that will likely be the kicker.”

Google is expanding the visual capabilities of its translate app. “The Google Translate app already lets you instantly visually translate printed text in seven languages. Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate—a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You’ll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed. Today, we’re updating the Google Translate app again—expanding instant visual translation to 20 more languages (for a total of 27!), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language.”

USEFUL STUFF

The always-brilliant Amit Agarwal shows how easy it is to fake embedded tweets. “Now CSS does help you control the tweet’s appearance but you may be surprised to know that it is also possible to change the other elements of an embedded tweet. For instance, you may modify the actual text of the tweet. The favorite & retweet counts can be altered as well. Let me illustrate that with an example:”

Google Operating System takes a look at Google Photos’ search filters. “Google+ Photos has a few search filters that are pretty useful. You can find them if you click the small arrow from the search box: Auto Backup, Hangouts, Google Drive, Posts, Auto Awesome, Videos and more. The nice thing is that most of them are also available in Google Photos.”

If you’re like me (and I know I am), then your interest in the Superbowl is mainly in the commercials. In that case you’ll like the news that CBS will livestream the Superbowl commercials next year. “The internet has changed the way we watch the Super Bowl, and media is following suit. Variety reports that CBS, in a game-changing move, will live stream every national ad during next year’s big game in near-real time. It’s an incredible decision that will change how advertisers spend money on the event, and helps turn Super Bowl 50 into a much bigger spectacle.” It also means that a 30-second ad slot will run almost 5 million smackers — and that using a Superbowl ad as the linchpin of an advertising campaign will be a huge, dangerous gamble. Cough RADIO SHACK cough

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Facebook is sharing its diversity training course with everybody. “Facebook on Tuesday launched a new page called ‘Managing Unconscious Bias,’ which features a training course and several informational videos aimed at improving diversity in the workplace. The training course, which was developed by Facebook, educates would-be employers and job-seekers on the realities of bias in the hiring process. The training was previously provided to Facebook employees.”

Google is using Street View cars to map air pollution. “In the first pilot, three Street View cars collected 150 million air quality data points over a month of driving around Denver, Colorado. They measured for chemicals that are hazardous to breathe, like nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).”

Yahoo has paid out over a million dollars in bug bounties. “A major improvement to our Bug Bounty program has been the implementation of a reputation system. This process is designed to award points to researchers after reporting a verifiable security bug. The number of points is also affected by the amount of the bounty the reporter is paid. The reputation system has made our list of top vulnerability reporters more meaningful by illustrating not only the number of reports they have submit, but the severity value we assigned to each. The reputation system also gives researchers a quantifiable way to compare their skills with the rest of the participants in the program.”

Twitter is reconsidering how it displays tweets. If it starts going algo-only it’s going to be a lot less useful. “Tweets typically appear in reverse chronological order, but that seems to be up for grabs as the company looks for ways to make its service more intuitive and attract more users in the face of stubbornly sluggish growth.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The White House has announced some changes about the way it will respond to petitions. “For the most part, we’ve been pretty good about responding — before today, the Obama Administration had responded to 255 petitions that had collectively gathered more than 11 million signatures. That’s more than 91 percent of the petitions that have met our threshold requiring a response. Some responses have taken a little longer than others. But now, I’m happy to say, we have caught up.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

If you’re really, really worried about privacy online, you can get a browser plugin that randomizes the way your keyed input appears to Web sites. “Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online. The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions…. The prospect of widely available databases that identify users based on subtle differences in their typing was unsettling enough to researchers Per Thorsheim and Paul Moore that they have created a Chrome browser plugin that’s designed to blunt the threat. The plugin caches the input keystrokes and after a brief delay relays them to the website in at a pseudo-random rate.” Good morning, Internet…

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About ResearchBuzz (3235 Articles)
News and resources covering social media, search engines, databases, archives, and other such online information collections. Since 1998.

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