Google+, Google Slides, Facebook Hardware, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, October 9, 2018


The Verge: Google is shutting down Google+ for consumers following security lapse. “Google is going to shut down the consumer version of Google+ over the next 10 months, the company writes in a blog post today. The decision follows the revelation of a previously undisclosed security flaw that exposed users’ profile data that was remedied in March 2018. Google says Google+ currently has ‘low usage and engagement’ and that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than five seconds.” Think of all the resources Google kept pouring into this that could have gone into Google Reader. I’m not even going to comment on the UNDISCLOSED SECURITY FLAW.

CNET: Google Slides can now automatically transcribe your speech into captions. “Google’s G Suite is adding automated closed captions to Google Slides, the company said Monday. The feature will roll out to users beginning this week. It works by accessing your computer’s microphone to pick up on what you’re saying during a presentation. It then transcribes your speech as captions, which appear on the slides you’re presenting in real time.”

BetaNews: Facebook unveils its new smart video calling hardware: Portal and Portal+. “Still reeling from a security breach that affected up to 90 million users, Facebook has announced two new pieces of hardware designed to make video chat easier and more immersive than ever. Portal and Portal+ are 10- and 15-inch smart displays complete with integrated cameras and packed with AI. But even Facebook acknowledges there are privacy concerns.”


Ars Technica: Liveblog: Google’s annual hardware launch event. “Join us October 9, at 11am ET, when Google will take the wraps off its 2018 hardware lineup. We’ll have boots on the ground in New York City to bring you the latest from Google’s big event.” If you read this on the Firehose or on Twitter, you’ll get it before the event. If not, you’ll have a nice wrap-up to read.

Fast Company: MIT’s new tool erases anything (or anyone) from old photos. “We’re all guilty of the Crop. You know, that group photo where you look so good that–sorry bestie, apologies grandma, see ya, ex–you carefully crop the other person out. But what if there was a tool that could erase people and things automatically–a magic wand that could do hours of imperfect Photoshop work in an instant? Now, thanks to an MIT Media Lab project led by Matt Groh, that tool is real–if still imperfect.” Really imperfect, based on the results, but you gotta start somewhere.


Cornell University: Roper Center to create world’s most comprehensive health opinion database. “The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, housed at Cornell, has been awarded a grant to provide an easily searchable portal on the public’s views about health dating back to 1935.”


Ubergizmo: Instagram Now Supports Two-Factor Authentication Apps. “Two-factor authentication is a pretty popular method of protecting one’s account these days. For those unfamiliar with how it works, usually once your username and password has been entered, a one-time generated code will be sent to your phone to verify who you say you are, thus preventing accounts from being compromised based purely on password alone.”

SBS News: Mass court action against Google blocked . “London’s High Court has blocked an attempt to bring legal action against Google over claims it had collected sensitive data from more than four million iPhone users, although it said the company’s actions had been ‘wrongful’.”

Washington Post: The government is rolling out 2-factor authentication for federal agency dot-gov domains . “Federal and state employees responsible for running government websites will soon have to use two-factor authentication to access their administrator accounts, adding a layer of security to prevent intruders from taking over dot-gov domains. Officials at federal agencies such as the departments of Justice, State and Defense can begin adding two-step verification to their accounts on Monday, according to the General Services Administration, the agency that manages dot-gov domains for the U.S. government. In the coming months, state and local officials will be prompted to add the security feature.”


EurekAlert: UToledo study details link between social media and sex trafficking . “Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex, according to a study by The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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