Google, Facebook Marketplace, Encyclopædia Britannica, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, June 8, 2018


CNET: Google brings free Wi-Fi to 400 India train stations, reaches 8 million users. “Google announced Thursday that it hit its target in bringing free Wi-Fi to 400 train stations across India, with 8 million people using the service each month. The initiative began in 2015, the company says in its blog, when it partnered with Indian Railways and RailTel to offer public Wi-Fi to the country’s travellers.”

Eyerys: Facebook Starts Monetizing ‘Marketplace’ And Introduces Bidding For In-App Ads. “After launching Marketplace, where users can discover, buy and sell items with people in their community, Facebook has been promoting it by placing it in the main navigation bar. And with the added exposure, Facebook wants to earn money from that by introducing some classified sections users can put their listings on. After some tests on users in Canada, Facebook quietly launched Marketplace ads initially in the U.S. With it, Facebook allows users to pay to ‘Boost’ their listing to more people through the News Feed.”


Wired: Encyclopædia Britannica Wants To Fix False Google Results . “Snippets aren’t all bad. When you ask Google why the sky is blue, it offers a reasonable explanation: ‘Blue light is scattered in all directions by the tiny molecules of air in Earth’s atmosphere,’ an answer it sourced from NASA. But in many other circumstances, Google has instead featured incorrect information from Wikipedia and random blogs. It’s those failures that Britannica wants to help mitigate with its new Chrome extension, Britannica Insights, which supplements Google’s featured snippets with accurate information.”


Regina Leader-Post: Miller hoping to glean stories by sharing First Nations University photo archive. “In a binder from the First Nations University library, Andrew Miller located a photo dated 1916. ‘Pointed Cap (108 years old) receiving treaty money,’ the image is labelled. Looking closely at the black and white photo, there is much more information to be gleaned.”

Business Insider: A Google engineer got up in front of the board and condemned the firm’s ‘chilling’ diversity failures. “A Google engineer got up in front of the board and read out a damning statement about the company’s ‘chilling’ failure to improve diversity. Google’s parent company Alphabet held its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday and during the 75-minute event, software engineer Irene Knapp presented a proposal on behalf of investor Zevin Asset Management and ‘concerned employees.'”


Bloomberg: Facebook Bug Switched as Many as 14 Million Users’ Privacy Settings to ‘Public’. “Facebook Inc. had a software bug for 10 days in May that set the audience for people’s posts to ‘public,’ even if they had intended to share them just with friends, or a smaller audience.” Good grief.

EFF: HART: Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and Peoples’ “Non-Obvious Relationships”. “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data on citizens and foreigners in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people. It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments. And yet, we still know very little about it.”


The Ringer: Monopoly Money: How to Break Up the Biggest Companies in Tech. “Even if the world’s most powerful companies have amassed monopoly power in certain sectors, regulators must prove that they exert that power in a way that harms consumers or stifles competition. It’s an especially tricky argument to make against firms that offer free or cheap services via the internet. The tech giants, which have largely been allowed to grow unfettered since the Microsoft lawsuit, often argue that a competing option is just a click away. But that reasoning looks increasingly specious in an era when Google functions as a verb, Facebook owns two of the biggest social networks, and Amazon is powering a huge portion of the internet.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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