afternoonbuzz

Facebook, NewsBlur, Ancestry, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, February 4, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

A new browser plugin lets you encrypt your Facebook chat. “Created by a Max Mitchell, a student at Sussex University, the app enables encrypted chat over Facebook messenger. It is a plugin for Chrome and Firefox and works by encrypting the communications with an agreed-upon password and decrypting it on the fly in the browser.” Slightly off the subject, but TechCrunch, what’s up with the horrible comment spam?

When Google Reader went down, I tried several other RSS readers. I really liked NewsBlur, but the number of RSS feeds I read is on the ridiculous side and NewsBlur couldn’t handle it. If you have a reasonable number of RSS feeds and are using Windows 10, you might want to try Hypersonic, a 3rd party NewsBlur app.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Ancestry is handing over Family Tree Maker and hooking up with RootsMagic. “Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions….We have made an agreement with RootsMagic, a leading genealogy desktop software program publisher, to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016.”

From Engadget: Google experiments with e-books designed for your phone. “It just launched Editions At Play, an experiment in making e-books that rely on the dynamic qualities of the mobile web to do what you can’t in print. One book (Reif Larsen’s Entrances & Exits, above) sets stories inside Google Street View locations that you can explore. Others create portals full of animation and sound, degrade the text alongside a character’s mind or let you flip between two sides of the same tale.”

Facebook is celebrating its 12th birthday with a new video feature. “Today is Facebook’s 12th birthday, or as CEO Mark Zuckerberg likes to call it, Friends Day. To celebrate the occasion, the social network is introducing a new personalized video experience that essentially automatically collates together your friendships and memorable moments in a video that you can share with your Facebook brethren.”

Yahoo is shutting down Yahoo Games. “YAHOO GAMES, THE once-hopping online game hub best known for its simulacrum of classic board and card games, is shutting down.” I suspect Facebook killed this one.

Instagram has launched 60-second video ads.

USEFUL STUFF

Digital Trends: How to send free text messages online. “Sending texts from your computer is extremely useful in dozens of different situations. Perhaps you lost your phone and need to send a message to someone; maybe you’re over your monthly text limit and still need to get in touch with your friends; or what if you just hate typing on a tiny keyboard or lack cellular service? I know my living room might as well be a black hole when it comes to coverage. Whatever the case may be, we’ve put together this super simple guide on how to send free text messages online.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Google is going to give free gigabit Internet to some public housing developments. “Looking forward, we plan to bring gigabit Internet to select affordable housing in all of our Fiber cities. We’re working with local providers to identify which properties we’ll connect across these markets, and we’ll have more to share as we bring Google Fiber to these cities. Finally, inspired by the early success of our work with the Housing Authority for the City of Austin, we’ll be complementing this $0/month Internet service by working with local partners to make new investments in computer labs and digital literacy classes so residents learn the skills they need to get online.”

An article on Pando breaks down Yahoo’s broken-down earnings: “In 2016, growth in digital ad spending is expected to slow to a more modest 15 percent, according to eMarketer. And Yahoo? It says its total revenue will decline another 9 percent (before traffic acquisition costs) to $4.5 billion. In a way [Marissa] Mayer was right three years ago: Yahoo is growing disproportionately, if by disproportion you mean not growing at all, but shrinking.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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