Segregated Schools, Medium, Twitter, More: Thursday Buzz, January 5, 2017


DigitalNC has put up a collection of slides showing segregated schools in Durham, North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s. “The slides include images of classroom scenes, school celebrations, exterior shots of school buildings, a high school class trip to Williamsburg and Richmond, VA, group portraits of sports teams, portraits of teachers and school administrators, and more.”


Blogging platform Medium is making some changes – unfortunately that means layoffs. “I’ll start with the hard part: As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third — eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally.”

Twitter will be showing that little blue tick in more places. “Beginning today, the social network is identifying verified users in additional places across its platform. This means tweets from verified accounts will be marked as such in Twitter’s main timeline rather than exclusively on their individual pages.”

Hyundai and Google are teaming up. “Hyundai will team with Google to make its cars voice-operable to a limited degree via Assistant, the search giant’s virtual helper. Hyundai is showing off this tech at CES this year, which allows Hyundai vehicle owners to do things like ask Google to start their car, transfer an address to their vehicle or lock the doors.”


Search Engine Land has an overview of SSL certificates. “A full range of SSL products are available on the market today that cater to various domain and security needs. Though many webmasters are exploring the possibilities, hoping a move to SSL will boost their search rankings, it can be overwhelming to try to compare these options, let alone fully understand what you’re paying for.”


Google is letting its Go-playing AI rack up the wins online. “Over the last few days, an unknown Go player named ‘Master’ has won 60 of 61 online matches against some of the best players in the world. Google has now fessed-up, admitting that ‘Master’ is actually the AlphaGo AI, and that it has been secretly playing humans in order to test an improved version.”

CNET: Facebook Live hit its peak on New Year’s Eve. “New Year’s Eve was the biggest night for Facebook Live since the streaming service launched in April, the social network said in a blog post. Predictably, millions of people around the world took their phones out and counted down to midnight for their friends on Facebook to see.”


The New York Times Magazine: Cyberwar for Sale. “On the morning of May 18, 2014, Violeta Lagunes was perplexed by a series of strange messages that appeared in her Gmail inbox. It was Election Day to choose the leadership of Mexico’s right-wing Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, and Lagunes, a former federal congresswoman, was holding a strategy meeting in her office in Puebla city. The emails seemed harmless, at least at first.”

The US Department of Labor is suing Google. “The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Google, with the company’s ability to win government contracts at risk. The agency is seeking what it calls ‘routine’ information about wages and the company’s equal opportunity program. The agency filed a lawsuit with its Office of Administrative Law Judges to gain access to the information, it announced Wednesday.”

More lawsuits: a former Snapchat employee is suing the company. “A former Snapchat employee alleged in a lawsuit Wednesday that the company misrepresented its financial state while recruiting him and then pressured him to spill secrets about his time at Facebook. Anthony Pompliano worked in Snapchat’s business operations department for three weeks before his firing in September 2015.” Three weeks?

RESEARCH AND OPINION What do Google search queries reveal about brand attitudes? “In order to investigate the relationship between brand attitudes and search engine queries, the researchers—Jeffrey P. Dotson, associate professor of marketing and global supply chain at Brigham Young University; Elea McDonnell Feit, assistant professor of marketing at Drexel University; and Ruixue Rachel Fan, Jeffrey D. Oldham and Yi-Hsin Yeh of Google—studied over 1,500 Google users who opted in to have their searches related to smartphones and vehicles tracked over a period of eight weeks and then linked their responses to a traditional brand attitude survey.”


Oh wow – a Google Street View skydive! “Dave Bonham-Carter, a 33-year-old man with Orléans roots, was a driving force behind the production of the first ever Google Streetview skydive, which took place in Nelson, New Zealand…. The self-described ‘adrenaline junkie’ had only been working at his new employer, Skydive Abel Tasman, for a few weeks in mid-December when he got a call out of the blue proposing they film a skydive to add to Google Street View.” Good morning, Internet…

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