afternoonbuzz

UK Employment, Victorian Photography, ChromeVox, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, February 10, 2017

NEW RESOURCES

UK employment tribunal decisions are now available online. “A new webpage listing employment tribunal decisions has been launched on the gov.uk website. The webpage allows the public to search for first-instance judgments from England, Wales and Scotland using drop-down menus and a free-text search.” It looks like about 140 decisions are online at this point, mostly from England and Wales – only 12 decisions are available for Scotland that I could see. The site also has an RSS feed!

A new Web site features a collection of early Victorian photography from the UK. “Launched by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the website brings together the complete works of William Henry Fox Talbot who is hailed as the British father of photography.” There are over 1000 images on the site now, with the expectation that it will grow substantially through next year.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google has updated its ChromeVox screen reader. “Our new version of ChromeVox makes the existing set of keyboard commands even easier, helping you navigate through sites, apps and the Chromebook interface without a mouse. The keyboard commands not only work in web pages, but also across other key parts of the interface, like the Chromebook status tray menu.”

Facebook has added a weather app which doesn’t even sound that appealing – “The data this app provides is pretty light, however, consisting of just current conditions in your local area along with basic temperature predictions plus a brief atmospheric forecast. Frankly, in a world swamped with a legion of mobile apps serving up weather data, Facebook’s software offers nothing groundbreaking. Perhaps that’s why the company is quietly rolling out the feature and not issuing a formal press release.”

The Guardian: Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as ‘unreliable’ source. “Wikipedia editors have voted to ban the Daily Mail as a source for the website in all but exceptional circumstances after deeming the news group ‘generally unreliable’. The move is highly unusual for the online encyclopaedia, which rarely puts in place a blanket ban on publications and which still allows links to sources such as Kremlin backed news organisation Russia Today, and Fox News, both of which have raised concern among editors.”

CNET: Google wants to use Chrome to suck you into virtual reality “Its latest version of the Chrome browser includes a technology called WebVR, which lets programmers create websites that present the computer-generated 3D worlds of virtual reality. If you’re into VR, you might appreciate the promise WebVR holds for expanding what you can do with a device like a Google Daydream View or a Facebook Oculus Rift VR headset.” I’m old enough to remember VRML.

Marketing Land: Pinterest’s Lens app turns your phone’s camera into a search bar. “On Wednesday, the social-network-slash-search-engine introduced Lens, a mobile app that uses the phone’s camera to recognize physical objects and pull up related items from Pinterest. The app appears to be Pinterest’s version of Google’s neglected Goggles app. Google’s app is no longer available in Apple’s App Store; it is still available on Android but hasn’t been updated since May 2014. Bing also has the feature built into its app, added last year.” Good comparison to Google Goggles. This doesn’t feel good.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Sophos: Google set to purge Play store of apps lacking a privacy policy. “Google is warning developers that it plans to purge its Play store of apps that don’t have privacy policies. The move could affect millions of apps that don’t spell out what they do with user data.”

MediaPost: Social Media Phishing Soars, New Trend Is Fake Customer Service. “Because humanity is terrible, pretty much as soon as someone invents a new form of communication, some other jerk figures out a way to use it to steal things. And then another way, and another, and another. That’s the message (somewhat editorialized by yours truly) of Proofpoint’s latest ‘Threat Summary and Year in Review’ report, which shows that the number of ‘phishing’ attacks on social media sites increased 500% from 2015 to 2016.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Knowledge@Wharton: Will Snap Be the Next Facebook — or Twitter? “Snap — formerly Snapchat — is headed towards an initial public offering worth perhaps as much as $25 billion, according to press reports. And Fortune magazine notes: Snapchat Likely the Most Expensive Big Tech IPO Ever. But are there issues that need to be considered? According to David Erickson, Wharton senior fellow and finance lecturer, Snap plans to sell ‘non-voting’ shares in the IPO — perhaps a first for a company going public and something with which large investors will likely struggle. Given this, management’s ability to execute will be an even greater focus as investors wonder whether, down the road, Snap will go the way of highly successful Google and Facebook, or struggling Twitter. In this opinion piece, Erickson offers his views.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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