Municipal Data Sets, Tour de France, Facebook Live, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, July 13, 2017


Citylab: An Open Data Hub That Builds Better Citizens. “Many online portals are hard for non-expert citizens to use. They keep datasets passively afloat, leaving it up users to know exactly what data they want and how to skim it out, skills which many lack. The numbers are there—but for whom, and for what purpose? Years in the making, a new tool aims to shift that paradigm.”


Google Blog: Keep up with the Tour—or create your own—with Search and Maps. “Now globally on the Google app for Android and iOS and the mobile web, when you search for Tour de France (or a similar query) on Google, you’ll see detailed information about the race and athletes as well as see the latest news stories. Most notably, you’ll also see the current standings of the race, which show jersey holders along with stage-by-stage results. As an added bonus, you’ll also have access to real-time update posts from the Tour de France directly in the search results.”

Digital Trends: Facebook Live Now Lets You Broadcast In VR Using The Oculus Rift ‘Spaces’ App. “The new Live support means that users can now set up a virtual camera in Oculus Spaces that can be positioned anywhere in the VR environment and broadcast to other Facebook users — just like with a 2D Live session. ”

CNET: Google off the hook for $1.3 billion tax bill in France. “Paris’ administrative tribunal ruled Wednesday that Google’s advertising business doesn’t have a taxable presence in France, absolving it of responsibility for five years of back taxes for a period ending in 2010. The tax authority had accused Google of routing ad sales in the country through its Irish-based subsidiary.”


From Digital Inspiration and the always-excellent Amit Agarwal: See all your Google Contacts on a Google Map. “Want to know where you friends and family are? Map My Contacts, an open-source web app, will help you quickly visualize the location of your Google contacts on a world map. It reads the addresses of people from your Google Contacts and puts them all on a Google Map using a simple Google Script.”


Select/All: The Future of College Is Facebook Meme Groups. “…shedding some well-needed light on the origins of the elite collegiate meme craze does not fully explain the bizarre nature of these groups’ sustained popularity. Why do so many students flock to these dedicated groups to share such oddly specific memes publicly when more well-established platforms like Tumblr, Twitter, or Reddit exist? … I reached out to a number of the admins and moderators of some of the most popular collegiate meme groups to see if they had any insights. And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much — clear logic and memes don’t exactly go together — but, surprisingly, nearly every response I got mentioned a similar trend.” This is one of those articles that I wish I could just grab your sleeve and drag you towards. It starts off with a discussion of Martin Shkreli’s apparently endless amounts of free time and then evolves into a serious look at memes and mental health.

The Next Web: Google responds to Wall Street Journal accusations of paying professors. “According to the report, Google (and others) are influencing politics and students by paying high-dollar stipends to the professors who are willing to do its evil bidding. … Google, in its response, says that the Campaign for Accountability is a biased organization pushing an anti-Google agenda.”

Bloomberg: China Tells Carriers to Block Access to Personal VPNs by February. “China’s government has told telecommunications carriers to block individuals’ access to virtual private networks by Feb. 1, people familiar with the matter said, thereby shutting a major window to the global internet.”


The Verge: Two-factor Authentication Is A Mess. “Nearly all major web services now provide some form of two-factor authentication, but they vary greatly in how well they protect accounts. Dedicated hackers have little problem bypassing through the weaker implementations, either by intercepting codes or exploiting account-recovery systems. We talk about two-factor like aspirin — a uniform, all-purpose fix that’s straightforward to apply — but the reality is far more complex. The general framework still offers meaningful protection, but it’s time to be honest about its limits. In 2017, just having two-factor is no longer enough.”


Techradar: Microsoft announces AI for Earth to help the planet with machine learning. “Hot off Google unveiling its own initiative for improving artificial intelligence’s impact on humanity, fellow AI research giant Microsoft has announced a program dedicated to improving the planet through machine learning.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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