Michigan Government, Petr Brandl, Google Indexing, More: Tuesday Buzz, April 11, 2017


From the Mackinac Center: Michigan Government Salaries Database Shows Value of Transparency. “The new database — which is easily searchable and made available as a public service by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan Coalition for Open Government and Michigan Press Association — contains salary information of nearly 300,000 public employees.”

Now available: a digital archive of Czech artist Petr Brandl. This article is in Czech, but translates decently enough. This quote is also translated: “The approaching 350th anniversary of the birth of the Baroque painter Petra Brandla National Gallery purchased a complete online database of artwork and also publishes two-volume monograph by art historian Jaromíra Neumanna, who after his death remained in manuscript.”


The Next Web: Google now lets you submit URLs for indexing straight from Search. “Much like it did with Translate, Google has been gradually incorporating its various services straight into search results for easy access – and the latest one to make the cut is its dedicated URL submission feature.”

CNET: Now anyone can use Google Duo for audio calling. “Google’s simple video calling app Duo just got a little more advanced. Google announced that it will bring audio-only calling to Duo users worldwide, after first introducing the feature in Brazil last month.”

MakeUseOf: These New Feedly Features Make It Easier to Digest Your RSS Feeds. “An RSS reader may be old-fashioned, but it’s still the best way to tame the information that bombards us every day — and Feedly is still one of the most popular RSS readers around. Though it has Pro and Team plans with power features, you can still do a lot with a free Feedly account.”

TechCrunch: Twitter now lets brands make their own “custom hearts” for Periscope live videos. “Those little hearts you tap to signal to a live video’s creator that you’re enjoying the content might look a little different on Twitter in the future. The company announced today a new way for brands to engage fans through live video – it will now let them create their own ‘custom hearts’ for use in Periscope’s live video.”


From the wonderful Amit Agarwal: How to Easily Switch between Multiple Google Accounts. “Lots of us maintain multiple Google accounts for a variety of reasons. Maybe your day is mostly spent inside Gmail and Google Calendar associated with your work account but you prefer to store files inside Google Drive of your personal Google Account.”


BuzzFeed: A More Humble Facebook Is Deploying Charm And Its Checkbook To Win Over Critics . “Up until very recently, Facebook was known for keeping its product road maps, checkbook, and public comments close to its chest. The company is also sometimes seen as avoiding panels and public events where its people might face tough questions about the power it wields over digital news. On top of that, for a long time it steadfastly clung to the idea that it’s purely a technology company. But in the months since it was rocked by criticism for the spread of misinformation on its platform during the US election, Facebook began changing how it engages with the news industry, and how it talks about its role in providing information to people.” For the record, I did not find this article via a fake news ad on Facebook.

Recode: Twitter fights to protect anonymous users more often than you’d think. “Twitter sued the U.S. government last week to protect the identity of an anonymous user who had been tweeting critical things about President Donald Trump and his administration. The move, and the fact that the government then rescinded its request for the user’s information, earned Twitter some praise online and in the press for standing up for free speech. But this kind of pushback from Twitter is not uncommon. In fact, the company has a long history of taking legal action to protect anonymous users and their personal information.”


Reuters: SEC targets fake stock news on financial websites. “The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday announced a crackdown against alleged stock promotion schemes in which writers were secretly paid to post hundreds of bullish articles about public companies on financial websites.”


MIT Technology Review: We Need More Alternatives to Facebook. “Chastened by the negative effects of social media, Mark Zuckerberg says he will tweak his service and upgrade society in the process. Should any company be that powerful?”

The Verge: Google is testing a new way of training its AI algorithms directly on your phone. “When big tech firms use machine learning to improve their software, the process is usually a very centralized one. Companies like Google and Apple gather information about how you use their apps; collect it in one place; and then train new algorithms using this aggregated data. The end result for users could be anything from sharper photos on your phone’s camera, to better a search function in your email app.” Good morning, Internet…

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