Facebook, Google, Internet Archive, More: Tuesday Buzz, December 22nd, 2015


Facebook will now play its videos via HTML5 rather than Flash. I knew there was a reason my Chromeboxes weren’t crashing as much.

Google has created a VR video of the White House Christmas decorations. “The video shows off Obama’s house decorated for Christmas, which I guarantee is much more festive than your place. A voiceover takes you on a guided tour, explaining some of the reasoning behind the decorations.”

More Google: Google’s “Spotlight Stories” are now on YouTube. “‘Special Delivery’ is the latest of several Spotlight Stories to come out of Google ATAP (our Advanced Technology and Projects group). With Google Spotlight Stories, your phone becomes a window to a story happening all around you. The sensors on your phone allow the story to be interactive, so when you move your phone to various scenes, you unlock mini-stories within the story.”


Huh. Apparently the Internet Archive had a live telethon and I completely missed it. If it were me, I wouldn’t run a telethon less than a week before Christmas…

Today’s Yahoo pile-on? Why, it’s Tumblr! “A major criticism of Mayer’s Yahoo has been a curious lack of ambition when it comes to new products. The same could be said of Tumblr, even with Karp at the helm. At a time when such apps as Snapchat have pushed the idea of media consumption and communication on smartphones, Tumblr hasn’t made major changes. In the past month or so, the company gave users the ability to make GIFs on their phones, as well as to carry on instant messaging conversations via the app, a feature whose absence had baffled many users.” I was wondering even before I read the article why Tumblr had kind of dropped off my radar. At one point, it was the “cool kid app,” and that seems to be more Instagram now. I hear more chatter about GIPHY than I do about Tumblr (not that there’s anything wrong with GIPHY.)

Okay, let’s post a nice Tumblr story. The Washington Post has a profile of Tumblr’s content curator. Her official title is “content and community associate” (but nobody calls her that) and she curates and traces memes. Sounds like a fantastic job; all right young woman.

The NFL and Snapchat are adding more to their partnership. “Snapchat and the NFL have extended their existing relationship with the latter signing up to become the first sports partner for the app’s Explorer feature. As a result, users will now get to see even more footage from football games and beyond, shot by Snapchat users and the NFL.”

Are Google and Ford teaming up to make self-driving cars? “Google and Ford are planning to develop and build self-driving vehicles together in a joint venture and will announce the deal at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says a report in Yahoo Autos. The partnership would represent a major collaboration between two of the biggest names in the tech and automotive industries.”

Hoo boy. Are tweeting drones in our future? “…it looks like Twitter filed a patent for messaging with or from, or both, an unmanned vehicle (drone!) in June of this year. It was just published a few days ago.”


The stories I put in ResearchBuzz rarely make me cry. But the ProPublica story on health care employees taking pictures and video of elderly patients and sharing them on social media had me in tears. “ProPublica has identified 35 instances since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers have surreptitiously shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked. At least 16 cases involved Snapchat, a social media service in which photos appear for a few seconds and then disappear with no lasting record.” There are no words. Well, no words that I can put in a newsletter my mother reads.

Oh No Kitty! This official online community for Hello Kitty fans has/had a data leak. “The records exposed include first and last names, birthday (encoded, but easily reversible Vickery said), gender, country of origin, email addresses, unsalted SHA-1 password hashes, password hint questions, their corresponding answers, and other data points that appear to be website related.” It looks like it’s been fixed, and the issue was MongoDB misconfiguration. Good morning, Internet…

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