Google My Account, IFTTT, Facebook Messenger, More: Thursday Buzz, June 2, 2016


Google has added some new features to Google My Account. I like this one: “Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for ‘I lost my phone.'”

IFTTT continues its evolution into the glue of the Internet of Things space by adding August Home to its arsenal. “August Home is on a mission to simplify the way we control and monitor access to the spaces we care about.”

Facebook Messenger is getting an emoji upgrade. “Facebook has started rolling out a more diverse set of emojis to its Messenger service on the web, iOS and Android. Facebook Messenger has always allowed you to use the diverse emoji offered via your smartphone or computer. Now, these diverse emojis are baked into Messenger. With the update, you’ll have access to over 1,500 new emojis — 100 of which were designed ‘to better reflect gender and skin tones’ with gender-agnostic options and multi-colored emojis.”

Nice: Periscope is going to use random users to moderate comments. “The feature allows viewers to report comments as abuse or spam while the live broadcast is under way. A randomly selected small jury of viewers is then asked to vote on whether: they agree the comment was abuse or spam; it looks OK; or they are not sure.”


We still don’t have a decent podcast search engine that I know of (if you know of one let me know) but Spencer Greenhalgh’s got a list of recommended podcasts in research and higher education. Maybe you’ll find a useful one here or there.


Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet trends report is now available. And it’s a 213-slide deck, so no excerpts for you.

Wow: mobile ad blocking jumped 90 percent in the last year. “Thirty-six percent of smartphone owners in the Asia-Pacific region now block ads on the mobile web, including nearly two-thirds of all smartphone owners in India and Indonesia. Mobile ad blockers are comparatively less popular in Europe and North America, where 14 million people regularly use them. Just 4.3 million Americans — around 2 percent of the smartphone owning population — use mobile ad blockers, compared with 159 million people in China.”

A town in Texas has immortalized the “selfie” in a statue.


TeamViewer users are reporting pretty severe problems, but TeamViewer is denying a hack. “In the past 24 hours, we’ve seen a spike in complaints from people who say their PCs, Macs and servers were taken over via the widely used remote-control tool on their machines. Even users with strong passwords and two-factor authentication enabled on their TeamViewer accounts say they were hit. It appears miscreants gained control of victims’ TeamViewer web accounts, and used those to connect into computers, where they seized web browsers to empty PayPal accounts, access webmail, and order stuff from Amazon and eBay.”

The latest “right to be forgotten” lawsuits are coming out of Russia. “St. Petersburg restaurateur and billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin has filed to sue online giants Yandex, Google and over their refusal to remove information about him from their searches, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. Prigozhin has filed 20 lawsuits against the Internet companies over the past three months, 15 of which are against the Russian online company Yandex, the RBC news website reported.”

You may remember over the weekend I linked to a story about an apartment complex that was requiring tenants to “Like” it on Facebook. It’s, um, not going well. “Another unsettling quirk: you had to let City Park Apartments post photos of you and your guests on its page, and you were not allowed to leave negative reviews on any public forum. The company’s Facebook page is already ‘unavailable’ after a torrent of negative reviews. It turns out local TV news station KSL picked the story up, and it floated its way to the AP and then every other website on the internet. And City Park Apartments’ Yelp profile is ‘under active cleanup,’ which is Yelp’s euphemism for ‘your business is currently being ground into a fine dust by unstoppable tank of internet outrage.'”


Google’s Magenta AI project has written its first piece of music. It sounds like the background music from a knockoff arcade fighting game, circa 1988. Good morning, Internet…

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