Local Restaurants, Google Search, IFTTT, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, October 28, 2019


Google Blog: Meet the most loved restaurants on Google. “Are you on the hunt for the best deep dish pizza in Chicago? Or fresh guava pastries in Los Angeles? Now we have a list for that! To help you hunt down the greatest places to eat or drink in town, we started the Local Favorites lists. These lists highlight the most loved restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.”

CNET: Google search engine will better understand natural speech, not just keywords. “Google’s search engine will now better understand your confusing search queries, the company said Friday. Google said it’s updating the tool to improve analysis of natural language. The idea is to let people type in queries that reflect how they speak in real life, instead of entering a string of keywords they think the software is more likely to understand.” I’m a little nonplussed by this; natural language searching has been a thing for a long time. Remember Ask Jeeves? Remember Electric Monk?


MakeUseOf: How to Use IFTTT Applets With Advanced Filters to Superpower Your Tasks . “IFTTT is a great way to automate your everyday processes on your computer, your phone, and your smart home. But its basic functionality is somewhat limited. There is a way to create more advanced IFTTT applets that only run under certain conditions. We’ll show you how, using an option called Filters in the IFTTT developer platform.”


The State Newspaper: Who owes back taxes in South Carolina? It’s about to go online on a new public website. “A new website will include a public database of people and companies who owe back taxes to the State of South Carolina, according to the Department of Revenue. The online database will include all state tax liens on a public website that anyone can search, according to a press release. The DOR says the website will go live Nov. 1.”

CNN: Zuckerberg said Facebook helped Black Lives Matter. Activists disagree and are bracing for 2020. “Mark Zuckerberg last week invoked Black Lives Matter in explaining why he believes it’s so important to allow free expression on Facebook. But real black activists remember how Facebook (FB) allowed its platforms to be used to take advantage of BLM and African Americans, standing by as Russian trolls created fake pages and events and allowing for the biggest BLM page on the site to be a scam run out of Australia. They don’t trust Facebook to stop that from happening again and so they are taking the fight into their own hands.”


BrockNews: Master of Sustainability student maps Niagara’s invasive species. “Plants and animals being introduced on purpose, or inadvertently into new environments, can have harmful impacts on native ecosystems. During her Master of Sustainability program at Brock University, Lyn Brown (MS ’19) learned all about the dangers of invasive species. As part of her thesis, Brown created the Niagara Region Aquatic and Riparian Invasive Species Control Database, which lists activities by organizations and groups in Niagara that manage invasive plant and aquatic species.”

Los Angeles Times: Justice Department and SEC drop investigation of Snap. “According to a regulatory filing published by the social media company Wednesday morning, U.S. authorities have officially dropped investigations into whether Snap misled investors about the threat posed by Facebook-owned Instagram at the time of its IPO.”


Washington Post: Racial bias in a medical algorithm favors white patients over sicker black patients. “A widely used algorithm that predicts which patients will benefit from extra medical care dramatically underestimates the health needs of the sickest black patients, amplifying long-standing racial disparities in medicine, researchers have found.”

TechCrunch: Why the Facebook News tab shouldn’t be trusted. “I used to think of Facebook as being in a bizarre love quadrangle with its users, developers and advertisers. But increasingly it feels like the company is in an abusive love/hate relationship with users, catering to their attention while exploiting their privacy. Meanwhile, it dominates the advertisers thanks to its duopoly with Google that lets it survive metrics errors, and the developers as it alters their access and reach depending on if it needs their users or is backpedaling after a data fiasco.”

The New Yorker: The Problem of Political Advertising on Social Media. “Facebook runs on proprietary algorithms that promote some content over others; those algorithms are not neutral. Neither are the company’s idiosyncratic and inconsistent ‘content moderation’ policies, which are supposed to police behavior on the site.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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