Google Maps Games, Google Assistant, Facebook, More: Sunday Buzz, June 24, 2018


Google Blog: Save dinosaurs from extinction in a game world built with Google Maps. “Just in time for summer and the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom™, you can explore a virtual world built with Google Maps while saving dinosaurs from extinction. Ludia and Universal’s Jurassic World™ Alive is available for free on Google Play and the App Store now.”

TechCrunch: Google Assistant’s ‘Continued Conversation’ feature is now live. “Google I/O was awash with Assistant news, but Duplex mystery aside, Continued Conversation was easily one of the most compelling announcements of the bunch. The feature is an attempt to bring more naturalized conversation to the AI — a kind of holy grail with these sorts of smart assistants. Continued Conversation is rolling out to Assistant today for users in the U.S. with a Home, Home Mini and Home Max.”

Neowin: Facebook is also working on a time management feature. “This year’s trend in mobile software features seems to be focusing on helping users manage how much time they spend on their devices. After Google first talked about ‘digital wellbeing’ at its I/O conference back in May, Apple was quick to follow suit with the announcement of iOS 12 earlier this month. But, while those two companies are building the feature directly into their respective operating systems, Facebook seems to believe it can do a better job. It had already started working on a similar feature for the Instagram app shortly after Google I/O, and now it’s time for Facebook itself to receive a similar treatment.”


FStoppers: I Posted a Photo Everyday For One Month On Instagram and This Is What Happened . “Gaining followers on social media can be an entire business in itself with numerous guidelines to optimize your chances of being noticed. One of those rules is to post steadily with constant content. So what happens when you post consistently for a month? I tried it and here are the results.” Well-documented experiment.

Search Engine Journal: How Machine Learning in Search Works: Everything You Need to Know. “Now, the term ‘machine learning’ gets thrown around a lot these days. But how does machine learning actually impact search and SEO? This article will explore everything you need to know about how search engines use machine learning.”


Boing Boing: China has perfected the internet control playbook and now it’s exporting it to the world . “After decades of back-and-forth over internet freedom, China has figured out a method for allowing people to use the internet for social and business purposes, but not for political reform — a combination of huge boiler-rooms full of censors, centralization of internet services under tight government control, and control over standards to ensure that surveillance and censorship are always possible. At the same time, China’s increasing wealth, combined with other large powers’ increased austerity and withdrawal from foreign aid, has enabled it to create large and growing spheres of influence over other states in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and these trading partners look to China for examples of how to create their own internet policies.”

Smithsonian Magazine: Museum Ties Portraits of the Wealthy to Their Slaveholding Pasts. “Photography has made it possible for pretty much everyone to sit for a portrait—or at least a selfie. But having your portrait painted by a genuine artist is still an honor reserved for the rich, the powerful or the friends of art students. It was the same in the past—only the wealthy could afford to have their likeness put on canvas, which is why our art museums are full of rich people wearing their finest outfits glaring at us from their good sides. But the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts is also highlighting the hidden warts, adding signs to its portrait collection illuminating many of the subjects’ deep connections with slavery, reports Maria Garcia at WBUR.”

The Parallax: Meet WeChat, the app that’s ‘everything’ in China. “It takes just six characters to spell ‘everything’ in China, and Mandarin fluency isn’t required. The far-more-than-messaging app WeChat dominates the mobile Web here. That’s been very good for WeChat developer Tencent Holdings, which in March revealed that this iOS and Android app, which has made online and real-world commerce vastly easier in China, had attracted more than a billion users. But Tencent still has to play by the Chinese government’s rules, and Western human rights advocates have found little promise in WeChat’s rise.”

From the crowdfunding site KissKissBankBank. Looks like it’s already funded and will launch in October: PeerTube, a free and federated video platform. “PeerTube is a practical answer to all video-tubes that centralize our data and attention. With it, videos can be hosted by the people, with the people, for the people. PeerTube is a software anyone can install on a server, to get a data-friendly video-hosting platform, called a PeerTube Instance.”


ZDNet: A hacker figured out how to brute force iPhone passcodes. “A security researcher has figured out how to brute force a passcode on any up-to-date iPhone or iPad, bypassing the software’s security mechanisms.”

CNET: Supreme Court says warrant necessary for phone location data in win for privacy. “The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of digital privacy. In a 5-4 decision on Friday, the justices said police need warrants to gather phone location data as evidence for trials. That reversed and remanded a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.”


New York Times: Can a DNA Database Save the Trees? These Scientists Hope So. “Forests are disappearing. Maps show shrinking woodlands all over the world. Even trees coveted for their wood that are protected from logging are chopped down. Worried about such deforestation, environmental advocates are driving a project to create a DNA database of populations of the bigleaf maple tree on the West Coast. The eventual goal is to use DNA mapping to combat the thriving black markets for timber in tropical countries that are plagued by illegal logging.” Good morning, Internet…

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