morningbuzz

Machine Learning, Great Arab Revolt, GMail, More: Thursday Buzz, August 11, 2016

Hey, heads-up: Google is having a Reddit Q&A/AMA about machine learning today. There are actually several people involved so maybe it’s AUA for Ask Us Anything.

NEW RESOURCES

In development: a digital archive for the Great Arab Revolt. “The Jordan Media Institute (JMI) on Wednesday announced plans for a museum to document press coverage of the Great Arab Revolt, as the Kingdom celebrates the revolt’s centenary. In cooperation with the US embassy in Amman, the museum will document the works of American journalist Lowell Thomas, who accompanied the British officer T.E. Lawrence for several weeks during the revolt, the JMI said in a statement.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is getting more detailed security warnings in email. “Gmail already features many warning messages, but the new alerts detailed Wednesday will help in two specific situations. They’ll tell you if you get an email with a link to a website known for hosting malicious software, or if Gmail can’t authenticate that the email sender is who they say they are.”

IFTTT has launched a partner/developer program. “Starting today, developers can embed IFTTT within apps and enable users to connect the hundreds of apps that the service supports. That means that the world of apps is about to get a bit more like the web. Just as any website can link to any other website, apps will readily exchange info with other apps.”

The White House has set up a Facebook Messenger chatbot. It’s a pretty basic bot, though – it’s designed to walk you through the process of sending a message to President Obama. While it’s interesting as a milestone, it’s not super impressive as a tool.

Google is apparently going to bring a PIN unlock option to Chromebooks. Which is great for those of us who have Chromebooks, lock their screen when away, and have 15+ character passwords. Note this is a PIN to unlock the screen once you’re logged in, not a PIN to log you in (which seems like it would be a terrible idea.)

USEFUL STUFF

Amit Agarwal is on a roll, y’all. His latest: How to Monitor your Website’s Uptime with Google Docs. “You can create your own website monitor that runs on Google servers and sends email alerts or SMS when your website goes down or is up again. It logs everything in a Google Spreadsheet or you can even store the downtime activity inside Google Analytics.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Watchdog.org has finally finished its three-part series, The Google Administration, with the article Google employees have enjoyed revolving door during Obama administration. “The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, poured over reams of data to find 258 instances of ‘revolving door activity’ between Google or its associated companies and the federal government, national political campaigns and Congress since 2009.” I recommend against reading the comments.

BuzzFeed: I Used Facebook to Buy a Gun. “In January, Facebook banned the coordination of gun sales on its platform. But last Wednesday, I picked up an AR-15 variant — a gun similar to the ones used in the mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Aurora, and others — that I found, negotiated for, and agreed to purchase from a private seller entirely on Facebook.”

Snapchat is getting pushback for what users say is a racist filter. “The filter, which users began criticizing on Tuesday, featured squinty eyes in what appears to be a cartoonish and insensitive portrayal of Asians, with one critic on Twitter calling it ‘the most overly racist filter ever’.”

Bill Maris has left Google. “The executive who built Google’s venture capital arm into one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific backers of start-ups has quit, in the latest sign of turnover among the internet group’s longest-standing leaders.
Bill Maris, who trained as a neuroscientist and set up Google Ventures in 2009, has left because he wanted to return to a smaller business, though he has yet to decide on his next step, according to one person familiar with his departure.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From The Washington Post: Facebook may soon have more power over elections than the FEC. Are we ready? “For those of us who study campaign and election regulation … new technology poses a serious challenge to the existing ways of thinking about and addressing the campaign finance problem. Government regulation becomes increasingly difficult once communication moves online, thus, large Internet platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter will become the primary regulators of political campaigns. They need to recognize their new role and use their power responsibly.” Good morning, Internet…

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