SC Restaurants, Google Local, Google Earth, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, June 29, 2016


The state of South Carolina has launched a new site providing information on restaurant inspection reports. “Users can search for nearby restaurants on a map or search by name, address, or other factors to view the two most recent inspection scores and official inspection reports.”


Google is now showing song lyrics in its search results. That noise you heard was ten thousand lyrics sites shutting down. “Looking to capitalize on the constant stream of people trying to figure out how does that song go again?, Google unveiled a new featured placement for song lyrics Monday. So, the next time you google the lyrics for ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ Bonnie Tyler’s beautiful words will appear directly in your search results.” I found most of what I searched for, though Laura Love’s Capricorn and Hominy didn’t get any results, and Begin the Beguine showed the song as sung by Julio Iglesias – and the lyrics are in Spanish!

Google has updated its sat imagery in Google Earth. “Three years ago we introduced a cloud-free mosaic of the world in Google Earth. Today we’re rolling out an even more beautiful and seamless version, with fresh imagery from Landsat 8 satellite and new processing techniques for sharper images than ever before. Satellite images are often cloudy, but not always over the same place, so we looked at millions of images and took the clearest pixels to stitch together this cloud-free and seamless image.”


Hey, cool! A roundup of public radio podcasts/radio programs for kids. “It’s true that public radio programming focuses mainly on adults, but there are lots of programs for kids and teenagers sprinkled throughout public radio’s local stations. They’re just not easy to find. Not all of them are available in podcast format, but you can download most onto a phone. And right now, there’s no directory that lists all of the children’s programming available in public media. So, I decided to make my own. Below is a list of every public radio program for kids that I could find.”


Google is giving Black Girls Code space inside its New York headquarters. “On Wednesday, Black Girls Code and Google will launch the new space inside Google’s building in Manhattan. Google bought the building in 2010. The space, valued around $2.8 million, is a gift from Google. The idea: By sharing the same space as Google, Black Girls Code will be able to introduce more students to more tech companies, and also attract volunteers and mentors.”

Yes or no? Is Facebook using your phone’s location to suggest friends? “On Friday, and again on Monday, Facebook told me that it uses smartphone location data to recommend new friends to its users…. But on Monday night, after lots of negative feedback, Facebook reversed course. A spokesperson told me that the company had dug into the matter further and determined that “we’re not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know.'”


If you’ve read ResearchBuzz for any length of time, you’re probably aware that I really do not like the business listings on Google Maps. Like the idea, but there’s way too much spam and fraud and junk going on. Here’s a great case in point. “Perhaps best known for a stunt in which he used fake Google Maps listings to intercept calls destined for the FBI and U.S. Secret Service, [Bryan] Seely knows a thing or two about this industry: Until 2011, he worked for an SEO firm that helped to develop and spread some of the same fake online reviews that he is now helping to clean up. More recently, Seely has been tracking a network of hundreds of phony listings and reviews that lead inquiring customers to fewer than a half dozen drug rehab centers, including Narconon International — an organization that promotes the theories of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard regarding substance abuse treatment and addiction.”


Aaron Tay, in his Twitter feed, pointed me toward this excellent article: Bartering for science: using mobile apps to get research data “There’s a transaction that happens every time you load a website, send an email, or click ‘like’ on a friend’s post: You get something you want in exchange for some data about your actions and interests. Entire business models depend on the premise that the data we generate in this way have value, and massive databases have been assembled with this in mind. Can we harness data collection of this kind for research? So far, companies have been in the vanguard of this type of work, with academics lagging behind.”

For those of you who do a lot of Twitter analysis: a tool to get the gender of your Twitter followers or the people whom you follow. “Using Python and some nice Philadelphians’ Twitter API wrapper, I began downloading the profiles of all my friends and followers. I immediately found that Twitter’s rate limits are miserly, so I randomly sampled only a subset of users instead….I wrote a script that passes parts of each name to the SexMachine library to guess gender.”

IFTTT did some research on how its users use the Internet of Things (IoT). “Experts predict that by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world. That’s about six devices for every single person on the planet. Of those 50 billion, we hope that a majority will be connected to IFTTT. To understand the impact IoT has had on our community, we took a look at our data.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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