afternoonbuzz

Google Landmarks, Google Assistant, EU Elections, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 6, 2019

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google AI Blog: Announcing Google-Landmarks-v2: An Improved Dataset for Landmark Recognition & Retrieval. “Last year we released Google-Landmarks, the largest world-wide landmark recognition dataset available at that time. … this year we are releasing Google-Landmarks-v2, a completely new, even larger landmark recognition dataset that includes over 5 million images (2x that of the first release) of more than 200 thousand different landmarks (an increase of 7x).”

Zawya: Google Assistant launches in Arabic in Saudi Arabia. “Google has announced recently that the Google Assistant, a virtual assistant available on mobile devices designed to help people get more things done with their phone, has launched in Saudi Arabia on both Android and iOS devices and can understand the Saudi dialect and answering in standard Arabic.”

Mozilla Blog: The Firefox EU Elections Toolkit helps you to prevent pre-vote online manipulation. “What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘online manipulation’? In the run-up to the EU parliamentary elections at the end of May, you probably think first and foremost of disinformation. But what about technical ways to manipulate voters on the internet? Although they are becoming more and more popular because they are so difficult to recognize and therefore particularly successful, they probably don’t come to mind first. Quite simply because they have not received much public attention so far. Firefox tackles this issue today: The ‘Firefox EU Election Toolkit’ not only provides important background knowledge and tips – designed to be easily understood by non-techies – but also tools to enable independent online research and decision-making.”

USEFUL STUFF

Lifehacker: Block Comments on the Web With This Chrome Extension. “Sometimes the comment section can be great. Commenting allows you to chat with others who have read the same article about your thoughts, engage in friendly debate, and potentially learn something new. Other times, the comment section can be difficult to read and can do more harm than good. For those times, there’s the Chrome extension Shut Up.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Atlantic: Stock Picks From Space. “There is an old story about Sam Walton: In the early days of Walmart, its founder would monitor how stores were doing by counting the cars in the parking lot. After seeing the power of satellite imagery in his factory deal, Tom [Diamond] had a similar idea, but on a scale Walton could not have imagined. He asked his brother, ‘What if we could count the cars at every Walmart?'”

SECURITY & LEGAL

TechCrunch: Security lapse exposed a Chinese smart city surveillance system. “Smart cities are designed to make life easier for their residents: better traffic management by clearing routes, making sure the public transport is running on time and having cameras keeping a watchful eye from above. But what happens when that data leaks? One such database was open for weeks for anyone to look inside.”

Techdirt: Smart Lock Vendors Under Fire For Collecting Too Much Private Data. “Like most internet of broken things products, we’ve noted how ‘smart’ door locks often aren’t all that smart. More than a few times we’ve written about smart lock consumers getting locked out of their own homes without much recourse. Other times we’ve noted how the devices simply aren’t that secure, with one study finding that 12 of 16 smart locks they tested could be relatively easily hacked thanks to flimsy security standards, something that’s the primary feature of many internet of broken things devices.”

Reuters: Facebook ‘labels’ posts by hand, posing privacy questions. “The content labeling program could raise new privacy issues for Facebook, according to legal experts consulted by Reuters. The company is facing regulatory investigations worldwide over an unrelated set of alleged privacy abuses involving the sharing of user data with business partners. The Wipro workers said they gain a window into lives as they view a vacation photo or a post memorializing a deceased family member. Facebook acknowledged that some posts, including screenshots and those with comments, may include user names.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

Engadget: Killing comments won’t cure our toxic internet culture. “The comments section is, by definition, driven by the readers that use it to express their reactions and opinions to news articles, often via pseudonymous or fully anonymous accounts. This format works both to the advantage and detriment of news sites.”

ABC 7 NY: EXCLUSIVE: NYPD is testing virtual reality training drills for real-life scenarios like active shooters. “Imagine the possibilities if the NYPD could conduct active shooter training drills at the World Trade Center? Now because of virtual reality they can. ” Good afternoon, Internet…

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