Wyoming, New York City, Aromatic Plants, More, More: Wednesday Buzz, March 16, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Wyoming has become the latest state to launch a mapping application showing its infrastructure. “The mapping application allows government officials, energy firms, researchers and the public to use and analyze a variety of data that is maintained by state and federal agencies. This includes the ability to map out pipelines, oil and gas wells, and protected wildlife habit sites and migration areas.”

All of New York City’s historical landmarks are now available on one big map. “There are tens of thousands of officially-designated landmarks in New York City, and today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission launched a fun new tool that lets you explore all of those protected sites.”

In development: a database of aromatic plants of the United Arab Emirates. “The first database for the country’s 135 aromatic plants species is being developed at UAE University.”

Google has launched a suite of new analytics tools. “Whether you’re building an app or running an online store, analytics can help you figure out what your users are trying to achieve and how you can serve them better. To that end, Google has launched a new set of enterprise-grade tools to help marketers gain insights about their customers’ journey and habits, and share that knowledge with their teammates.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

The Web-based version of Skype has gotten some updates. “Skype for Web, the browser-based version of Microsoft’s popular communications software introduced last year, is getting a slew of new features that brings it more in line with its desktop and mobile counterparts – most notably the added ability to dial mobile phones and landlines. The web version also now allows you to bring non-Skype users into a conversation easily, introduces notifications, and lets you watch YouTube videos in Skype for Web itself.”

Instagram is now showing the exact date/time pictures were posted, which is nice because that 7w stuff was getting tiring. “Previously, the web version of Instagram let users see the exact date posts were uploaded. Instagram changed that to ‘weeks’ sometime late last year to make it consistent with the app.” And drive me bonkers.

Nice to not-so-nice: is Instagram moving to a relevancy-based timeline? ARRRRRRGH. “Instagram plans to introduce the new formula gradually, giving weight to the kind of factors Facebook considers in its news feed. The service says users will still be able to find all the posts they used to see, although they won’t be in the same order.” So once again Facebook imposes a completely opaque rating system on content you specifically said you wanted to see, and will probably refrain from explaining except in the most general terms why things are rated the way they are. Boo Facebook.

USEFUL STUFF

Gary Vaynerchuk has an extensive article on how to create and use Snapchat’s custom geofilters. He’s made several himself and shares examples of his creations as well as costs and results.

Wow, that’s specific: a roundup of volcano-related Twitter accounts. I WILL BE SEEING THAT KITTEN T-SHIRT IN MY NIGHTMARES.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Aw, this is nice. Google added Pashto to Google Translate and Pashto speakers think that’s just grand. “Last week, Kabul International Cricket Stadium witnessed a heart-warming ‘Thank You’ to Google for adding Pashto to Google Translate.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google’s willing to bet $100,000 that you can’t remotely hack its Chromebook. “Google doubled the bounty it will pay for a successful exploit of its Chromebook laptop to US$100,000, sweetening the pot in hopes of drawing more attention from security researchers. The larger reward is intended for someone who finds a persistent compromise of a Chromebook in guest mode, according to Google’s security blog on Monday.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Earlier this month I linked to a story about endangered species being sold on Facebook. Now there are concerns about rare plants being sold via social media. “A study conducted by the University of Kent’s Dr Amy Hinsley and Dr David Roberts, and published by Conservation Biology, represents the first large-scale global survey of wildlife trade via a social-media site, using the orchid trade as a case study.” Nero Wolfe, where ARE you? Good morning, Internet…

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