morningbuzz

Amazon Polly, Twitch, Instagram, More: Thursday Buzz, June 22, 2017

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Poynter: With Amazon Polly experiment, The Washington Post hopes to capitalize on growing interest in audio. “The last Washington Post column I came across was only interesting because a computer read it to me. Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech service that sounds like a cross between a customer service agent and Siri. Its ‘lifelike’ reading is dispassionate, and each comma prompts an overly long pause between words. Yet, I found myself listening to several articles for at least a few minutes apiece as I stared into empty space at work. And that’s exactly what The Post is shooting for.”

LA Times: Twitch reaches 2-year streaming rights deal for Blizzard e-sports events. “Video streaming service Twitch announced Tuesday a two-year deal with Blizzard Entertainment to become the exclusive third-party home for many of the Irvine game-maker’s e-sports events.”

TechCrunch: Instagram Stories hits 250M daily users, adds Live video replays . “Instagram Stories is widening its lead over Snapchat and rolling out new features to keep everyone shooting video. Instagram Stories now has 250 million daily active users, up from 200 million in April, 150 million in January and 100 million in October after launching the Snapchat Stories clone in August. That compares to Snapchat’s total 166 million daily actives for its entire app and Instagram’s total 700 million monthly users.”

USEFUL STUFF

Mic: Snapchat Maps: How to find every geofilter in the world using this crowdsourced Google tool. “There is a cool little Google Map that is crowdsourcing all the regions around the world with Snapchat Geofilters. It’s not associated by Snapchat and is far from an official list, but it has organized the availability of filters across the globe.” Cool idea, unfortunately a bit light on details.

Lifehacker: Standard eBooks Is a Gutenberg Project You’ll Actually Use. “I’m always trying to save a few bucks when stocking up on books for my beat-up Kindle or my iPad. I’m not a big ebook reader, but I do use it to crank through classic books I should have already read—books too unwieldy to carry during my morning and evening commute. Luckily for me, there are thousands of free books available from places like Project Gutenberg. Just one problem: a lot of them look terrible.”

MakeUseOf: The Total Beginner’s Guide to Using Google Home Like a Pro. “While the Amazon Echo has become a household name in the smart home sphere, the Google Home … isn’t far off. The Echo, powered by Alexa, has had more time to mature as a platform. But if you’re more invested in Google’s ecosystem, you’ve got an extremely fun and capable device in the Home to put to work. It even features some advantages over the Echo, like support for multiple users based solely on their voices.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Archive-It: K12 Web Archivists Capture History in the Making. “This year marked the 9th season of the K12 web archiving program. Students from 11 schools around the country worked together to think critically about information on the web and to select websites to archive for the future. Their collections are centered around topics that reflect their interests, their day-to-day lives, current events, and topics they studied in class. Each school incorporates web archiving into its curriculum differently. This year 3 teachers generously shared their experiences participating in the K12 Web Archiving program.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Gizmodo: Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data. “During a recent investigation into how a drug-trial recruitment company called Acurian Health tracks down people who look online for information about their medical conditions, we discovered NaviStone’s code on sites run by Acurian, Quicken Loans, a continuing education center, a clothing store for plus-sized women, and a host of other retailers. Using Javascript, those sites were transmitting information from people as soon as they typed or auto-filled it into an online form. That way, the company would have it even if those people immediately changed their minds and closed the page. (It’s yet another way auto-fill can compromise your privacy.)”

BetaNews: Consumers ignore security risks for free Wi-Fi . “A growing number of British consumers are using their neighbors’ Wi-Fi, sometimes even without permission, because they can’t afford their own. This is according to a new report by Santander, which also says that the price of phone and broadband services has increased hugely over the past ten years.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

University of Arizona: Twitter And Big Data Could Predict Emergency Room Rush Hours. “Research that will be published in the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics combines Twitter posts and air quality and hospital data to form a model that researchers believe can predict emergency room trends more effectively and immediately than existing disease surveillance models, such as that published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While health and data tools such as Google Flu Tracker have used social media and search engines to monitor the spread of contagions, this new model is the first to look at chronic illnesses such as asthma, the researchers say.”

Buzzfeed: Violence On Facebook Live Is Worse Than You Thought. “Facebook Live has a violence problem, one far more troubling than national headlines make clear. At least 45 instances of violence — shootings, rapes, murders, child abuse, torture, suicides, and attempted suicides — have been broadcast via Live since its debut in December 2015, a new BuzzFeed News analysis found. That’s an average rate of about two instances per month.”

Newswise: Study Finds Most People Aren’t as Happy as Their Friends on Social Media. “A study led by computer scientists at Indiana University has found that people with the most connections on social media are also happier. This may cause most social media users to not only regard themselves as less popular than their friends but also less happy.” Good morning, Internet…

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