Artery Sounds, Video Games, Google News, More: Thursday Buzz, February 16, 2017


This is fascinating! In development: a digital library of artery sounds. “The grant will enable the construction of a digital database of the different foot and leg artery sounds – plus sounds from the groin and behind the knee – recorded during the Doppler ultrasound procedure. [Andrew Sharpe] will then select the best and most representative sounds and hold discussions with expert clinicians on how to interpret them. Case histories accompanying each sound will form part of his library, which will be obtainable via the web. It is also planned to develop a smartphone app.”

Now available: a database/visualization of information about 16,000 video games. “A user flying through GameSpace will encounter, for example, a large cluster of racing games, and can then investigate individual games or look nearby to find related kinds of games. For each game, the user can read its Wikipedia article or watch YouTube videos of gameplay without having to leave the space.” This is a little slow on my machine, but that’s probably due to my lousy Internet connection.


CNET: Google adds fact-check label in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. “Google wants to do more to highlight facts. Last year, Google added fact check to the list of tags — such as highly cited, trending and opinion — that show up alongside article headlines on Google News. Now, the web giant is expanding the feature to more countries and regular search.”

Facebook has decided to autoplay sound on all the video crammed into your timeline. What could possibly go wrong? ” Audio will fade in and out as you scroll past the videos on your feed, so at least you shouldn’t be caught off guard with the jarring screams of some prank video your friend shared. Sound will also not play if your phone is in silent mode.” Happily this article also explains how to turn that stuff off.

Google Blog: Did you know…Google Search now has easy-to-find fun facts?. “Did you know a cat can’t chew big pieces of food because their jaw can’t move sideways? Or that hamsters got their name from the German word ‘hamstern’ which means to hoard? And how do we know this? Starting today on Google Search, you can find fun facts about living creatures from around the world, making you the most interesting person at the dinner party or the reigning champ at trivia.” I tried this and it worked, though in retrospect “cockroach fun facts” probably wasn’t a great idea. Google internet balloon plan snagged in Sri Lanka: minister. “Google’s venture to beam the internet to remote areas of the world via balloon has hit a legal snag in Sri Lanka that could see the project abandoned on the island, a minister said Thursday. ‘Project Loon’ uses roaming balloons to beam internet coverage and planned to connect Sri Lanka’s 21 million people to the web, even those in remote connectivity black spots.”


Washington Post: Your ultimate guide to mobile livestreaming. “The good news is that livestreaming is easy, especially since we’re all carrying around cameras in our smartphones. Things can get tricky, however, when you’re trying to pick which service to use. Different companies with mobile streaming options have different characteristics. What may work for one person may not work for another, and a livestreaming experience that doesn’t work may frustrate you so much that you swear off the whole thing. That’s why we’re here to help.”


Politico: Plan to make Google pay for news hits rocks. “Europe’s press barons thought they’d scored a major victory last fall when the European Commission threw its weight behind their idea to create a special protection for digital journalism, the linchpin of their strategy for long-term survival. But now the plan threatens to come undone.” Really good, thorough overview of the tension between Google News and news publishers.

From Marketing Land: How ads on Google for its own products can impact the prices other advertisers pay. “When Google and its sibling companies at Alphabet buy ads on its own search engine, the company says it works to ensure that its participation in the ad auction doesn’t ‘directly inflate’ what the other advertisers in that auction end up paying. The mechanics of those efforts can be hard to follow if you aren’t familiar with the AdRank system Google uses to decide which ads to show based on how much advertisers are willing to pay and the ‘quality score’ assigned to each ad. Our story on Search Engine Land goes into those mechanics. But the bottom line is that despite Google trying to keep pricing neutral in the auction, just being in the auction can have an impact on its customers’ prices.”


Yahoo is warning about yet more hackery. “Yahoo is warning users of potentially malicious activity on their accounts between 2015 and 2016, the latest in a string of cybersecurity problems faced by the technology company. The measure comes two months after the company revealed that data from more than 1bn user accounts had been compromised in August 2013, the largest such breach in history.” I hope that Verizon renames this company Yadobe.

From Bar & Bench, in India: SC directs Google et al to put in place in-house mechanism to remove search results on pre-natal sex determination. “The Supreme Court of India today directed Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to set up an in-house mechanism to remove online search results, which has ‘potential to go counter’ to Section 22 of the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (Act).”


Newswise: How Many Calories in That Tweet?. “Of course, people don’t actually eat tweets. Instead, the Lexicocalorimeter gathers tens of millions of geo-tagged Twitter posts from across the country and fishes out thousands of food words — like ‘apples,’ ‘ice cream,’ and ‘green beans.’ At the same time, it finds thousands of activity-related terms — like ‘watching TV,’ ‘skiing,’ and even ‘alligator hunting’ and ‘pole dancing.’ These giant bags of words get scored–based on data about typical calorie content of foods and activity burn rates — and then compiled into two measures: ‘caloric input’ and ‘caloric output.'” Good morning, Internet…

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