Irish Politics, Visa, Twitter, More: Friday Buzz, February 5, 2016


Enough about US politics. There’s a new Web site for comparing 500 candidates in the Ireland elections. “Every political party and candidate was asked to complete a questionnaire which indicated where they stood on the key issues, including taxation, water, housing, employment and abortion. Voters can answer a set of questions to see which candidates they agree with in their constituency.”

A little outside the ResearchBuzz remit but I think this is going to end up impacting a lot of people: Visa has launched a developer platform. “With regards to today’s Visa Developer announcement, for the first time in the company’s nearly 60 year history software developers will have open access to payments technology, products and services by Visa. The new Visa Developer platform is designed to help financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies meet the demands of consumers and merchants, who increasingly rely on connected devices to shop, pay and get paid.”


Twitter might be testing a new GIF tool for its users to easily add pre-selected images to their tweets. Looks like Twitter’s version of Facebook’s stickers. “Various Twitter users have tweeted, naturally, that a dedicated GIF tool has popped up in between the photos and polls options on their mobile app.”

Huh. Google might have launched a “Trusted Verifier” program that certifies people to verify local businesses for Google. But maybe it’s not ready for prime time? “It comes with a mobile app where the Trusted Verifier can use the app to mark the business as verified….It seems like the app was pulled…”


MakeUseOf has a quick tip for using symbolic links in Google Drive. oooh, this is going to come in handy…


Amit Singhal, head of Google Search, is leaving the company. Instead of linking to a news story, I’m linking to the incredibly classy post he put on Google+. “Now, with pride, gratitude, and joy in my heart, I need to define my next fifteen years. I am eager to see what kind of impact I can make philanthropically, and of course, to spend more time with my family–especially with my wife who I miss spending time with given our incredibly busy lives, and our son who will go to college soon, leaving an empty nest behind.” Best of luck in your future endeavors, sir.

Google’s new head of search is John Giannandrea. “Giannandrea joined the company in 2010, after Google bought his startup Metaweb Technologies. His company was the basis for Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph,’ which stores information to help users answer their questions as quickly as possible. ”

PricewaterhouseCoopersIndia (PwC India) and Google are teaming up to launch a security product for India. “The product will be able to detect, analyse and stop possible cyber attacks or any other forms of threats from cyber criminals, competitors or governments. PwC already plays a role in the cyber security space and helps its clients prevent, and in some cases, take corrective actions after cyber breaches.”

Interesting: Joe Biden is apparently the first US Vice-President with a Facebook page.


The University of Central Florida has been hacked. “Hackers gained access to the personal information of current and former student-athletes and support staff as well as current and former university employees. The stolen info includes Social Security numbers but not credit card information, financial records, medical records or grades, [John C.] Hitt said.” The information of about 63,000 people was compromised.


Erin Brown at Duke University did her honor’s thesis on Twitter. Specifically #Activism: Tracking Twitter’s Impact on Campaigns for Political Change. ” Various interest groups have thus increasingly begun to adopt social media – and Twitter in particular – as a means to achieve institutional goals. However, as social communication has moved to online networks, the scope and variety of information that citizens receive has begun to shrink. Understanding how different groups have utilized social media has become imperative to examining what messages people see, and as a result, how social media may change activism in the future. This study thus seeks to answer the following questions: How have interest groups utilized social media, and Twitter in particular, to facilitate political change? How does partisan affiliation affect and shape social media strategy?” Not a super-long thesis (35 pages) and if you’re at all interested in social media activism or the communication strategies of different political parties, worth a read.

Move over, Kevin Bacon, the people on Facebook have a lot less than six degrees of separation. “New research from the social suggests that for the 1.59 billion active users of Facebook, there are only 3.57 degrees of separation, on average, between everyone on the social network.” If you visit the Facebook Research Blog you can find out what your degree of separation is on Facebook. Mine is 3.13; so close to pi and yet so far away. The story of my life (or my desserts, anyway.) Good morning, Internet…

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