Evernote, Google, Pinterest, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, June 30, 2016


Evernote is changing its pricing plans. “Beginning today, the prices for our Plus and Premium tiers will change for new subscriptions, and access from Evernote Basic accounts will be limited to two devices. Current subscribers and Basic users who are using more than two devices will have some time to adjust before the changes take effect. If you are impacted, look for a message from us in the coming days.” I need to look more closely at OneNote.

Google has launched a new “My Activity” page. “Google has had tools to view your account history for a while, but this new page called My Activity is one of the most comprehensive timelines we’ve seen yet. Here, you can see which sites you visit, what devices you used, which apps you’ve used, and which Google products you’ve interacted with.”

Pinterest continues its pivot towards commerce with visual search. “On Tuesday, the San Francisco startup previewed a deep-learning-assisted visual search feature that it hopes will encourage even more shopping. With it, you will eventually be able to snap photos of objects around you—a cool-looking T-shirt worn by someone who breezes past you, for instance—or even a whole room. Then you’ll see similar items that others have pinned to Pinterest, and if they have ‘buy’ buttons, you can purchase them.”


A new Web site aims to catalog all the voice commands you can use with Google Now. “Kitze, whose website is now No. 1 on Product Hunt, says he got annoyed whenever he saw posts that offered a ‘complete list of Google Now commands.’ That’s when he decided to take matters into his own hands and build a website that aims to be the one-stop reference site for every OK Google command. And it’s more than that — the website is fluid, animated, and aesthetically pleasing.” It is pleasing – except for the gray on gray text.


What happens on the Web in one minute? New stats are available. “According to the latest “Data Never Sleeps” report from Domo, published this week, in a single web minute, 159,380 pieces of content are viewed on Buzzfeed, Google translates 69.5 million words and Apple’s Siri handles 99,206 requests. Data levels are rising because of the web’s increasing social appeal. A single minute is all it takes for Instagram users to like 2.4 million posts and for Snapchat users to watch 6.94 million videos.”

Things I admit I don’t think about much: HowSocial Media Has Changed the Landscape for Editorial Cartooning. “I stood frozen in front of my computer, watching my Twitter feed roll like a slot machine reel. My editorial cartoon criticizing then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz for his decision to have his 7-year-old daughter read from the script of a political attack ad had just been published online by The Washington Post, and four days of continuous emails, tweets, and comments had begun.”


A new strain of ransomware wants to stop you doing unsafe things on the Internet. “A new ransomware (eduware?) called EduCrypt was discovered by AVG security researcher Jakub Kroustek that tries to teach its victims a lesson about ransomware. Like other encrypting malware, EduCrypt will encrypt a victim’s files, but instead of demanding a ransom, it gives the victim the password for free along with a reprimand.”

A Google researcher has ripped multiple strips off Symantec for the insecurity of its products. “Researcher Tavis Ormandy has spotted numerous vulnerabilities in 25 Norton and Symantec products that are “as bad as it gets,” he says. ‘Just emailing a file to a victim or sending them a link to an exploit is enough to trigger it — the victim does not need to open the file or interact with it in any way.’ Symantec has already published fixes for the exploits, so users would do well to install them immediately.”


Penn State researchers are taking a deep look at Likes. “The simple act of pressing a ‘like’ button on a social media site can speak volumes about a user’s preferences, relationships and behavioral patterns, according to Penn State researchers, and such findings about a user could help improve and personalize services. The ultimate goal of their multi-year project, LIKEs-R-Us, is to leverage the data they have collected into developing enhanced technologies that assist users in their social networking and online activities.”

This is interesting: computer scientists at Duke University have developed a privacy tool for video streams. “Camera-equipped smartphones, laptops and other devices make it possible to share ideas and images with anyone, anywhere, often in real-time. But in our cameras-everywhere culture, the risk of accidentally leaking sensitive information is growing. Computer scientists at Duke University have developed software that helps prevent inadvertent disclosure of trade secrets and other restricted information within a camera’s field of view by letting users specify what others can see.”

Meanwhile, Google’s research in image recognition is getting better and better. “This week is the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Las Vegas, and Google researchers have several accomplishments to present. They’ve taught computer vision systems to detect the most important person in a scene, pick out and track individual body parts and describe what they see in language that leaves nothing to the imagination.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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