morningbuzz

Emoji, Video Games, Microsoft Edge, More: Saturday Buzz, April 2, 2016

TWEAKS & UPDATES

I don’t think this is an April Fool: Google Photos is now offering search via emoji.

You may recall me, back in February mentioning the efforts to salvage the content of the GameTrailers Web site, which has gone bye-bye. The person behind that task dropped me a note on Reddit (and it took me a few weeks to get it, as I don’t log in to Reddit directly very often) to let me know that the YouTube archive channel now has over 400 videos. Keep going!

I guess it’s not a game-changer: Microsoft says it is not adding an ad-blocker to the Edge browser.

USEFUL STUFF

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of things claim to be “one weird trick,” but this really IS one weird trick. BuzzFeed has a sneaky way to clear up space on your iPhone. You’ll have to use iTunes, though.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Reddit’s latest transparency report might have a dead warrant canary. “Social networking forum reddit on Thursday removed a section from its site used to tacitly inform users it had never received a certain type of U.S. government surveillance request, suggesting the platform is now being asked to hand over customer data under a secretive law enforcement authority.”

Yahoo continues to have problems with keeping employees. “It’s been touch and go for a lot of high-ranking execs like [Sandy] Gould at Yahoo of late, many of whom are not sure what to do in the midst of all the swirl at the Silicon Valley Internet giant. That includes a proxy fight that could — and probably will — oust the entire current board, as well as a lugubrious sales process to hawk Yahoo’s core business. Also, there’s a spinoff of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group taking place.”

Google keeps pushing what the ChromeOS will do with the launch of Chromebase for Meetings. “Say hello to the Acer Chromebase for meetings, an all-in-one secure video-conferencing device optimized for use in small meeting areas with up to two people. It’s a secure, self updating, easy to manage unit that builds on Chrome and WebRTC innovations for sharper video, audio and screen sharing. Guest account support makes it simple to join a meeting even without a Google account: Just click a meeting link invitation and you’re connected.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Google Ventures will not invest in North Carolina until this state repeals its ridiculous HB2 law. “Bill Maris, the CEO of GV, added his name to a Human Rights Campaign letter signed earlier this week by a litany of tech execs — including those from Apple, Facebook, Uber, Cisco and Salesforce — calling for the bill to be overturned. As it stands, HB 2 requires transgender people to use public restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender assigned at birth.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

OnlineCensorship.org has released its first report. “We asked users to send us reports when they had their content or accounts taken down on six social media platforms: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. We have aggregated and analyzed the collected data across geography, platform, content type, and issue areas to highlight trends in social media censorship. All the information presented here is anonymized, with the exception of case study examples we obtained with prior approval by the user.”

From MIT Technology Review: How Google Plans to Solve Artificial Intelligence. “Atari games and Go are very different, but DeepMind tackled them both using the same approach, loosely inspired by the way animals can be taught new tricks using rewards and punishments from a trainer. In reinforcement learning, as it is called, software is programmed to explore a new environment and adjust its behavior to increase some kind of virtual reward.”

You know how you keep reading that young people keep leaving Facebook and it’s only for old fogies like me? Well… “Turns out that while investors (and the media) panicked that Facebook would experience a mass exodus of young people, nearly every Internet-wielding millennial in America still uses Facebook on a regular basis. Those same millennials spend more than 2.5 times as many minutes in Facebook as they do in its closest competitor — Snapchat. (Facebook-owned Instagram is a very close third.)”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

This is nifty: create a font with the sound of your voice. “You know those games where you use something as a metaphor for your personality? Like, if you were a fruit what fruit would you be? Or are you a Chandler, a Joey, a Rachel, a Carrie, a Samantha, a Miranda? Now to celebrate its 20th anniversary, The Webbys has launched a design and digital nerd version of this parlor game/social masochism with a site that can turn your voice into an original font.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

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