Power Virtual Agents, Google Site Kit, Google Translate, More: Tuesday Evening ResearchBuzz, November 5, 2019


TechCrunch: Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder. “Microsoft today announced the public preview of its Power Virtual Agents tool, a new no-code tool for building chatbots that’s part of the company’s Power Platform, which also includes Microsoft Flow automation tool, which is being renamed to Power Automate today, and Power BI.”

Search Engine Journal: Google Releases its Site Kit WordPress Plugin Out of Beta . “Site Kit allows WordPress users to access data from Google products right from their site’s dashboard. The plugin aggregates data from Google Search Console, Google Analytics, PageSpeed Insights, and AdSense.”


The Japan News: Cambodia: Ministry bans use of Google Translate for signboards. “An interministerial meeting led by the Environment Ministry has decided to ban property developers from using Google Translate for their signboards and trademarks. The meeting was held to carry out consultation and a full assessment of the environmental and social impact caused by poor translations at condominium and apartment development projects.”

Poynter: Macedonia has a plan to quit being known as ‘fake news land’. “Macedonia, a small nation in the heart of the Balkans, no longer wants to be internationally known as ‘fake news land.’ And to change this situation — created during the last U.S presidential election — Macedonians decided to invest in media literacy. Specialists from all over the country are reaching teenagers in different ways to teach them how bad mis/disinformation can be — not only for themselves but for others — and they say this effort can reverberate in the United States in 2020.”

CNN: Google workers pen open letter to company demanding climate action. “Googlers are calling on the company to address specific climate demands. In an open letter published Monday addressed to Google CFO Ruth Porat, workers are asking for a climate plan that incorporates specific asks that have similarly been set by workers at other tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft.”


Lifehacker: Spinner Incepts Your Friends With Hyper-Targeted Ads. “The advertising industry is a cesspool of manipulation and misinformation. And now you can use it to convince your partner to let you get a dog. Or convince them to settle your divorce out of court, because they caught you using hyper-targeted internet ads to convince them to let you get a dog. The Spinner promises to serve content ads to one person of your choice, all pushing a specific agenda.”

New York Times: The Government Protects Our Food and Cars. Why Not Our Data?. “…the United States is virtually the only developed nation without a comprehensive consumer data protection law and an independent agency to enforce it. Instead, Americans have to rely on the Federal Trade Commission, an overstretched agency with limited powers, to police privacy as a side hustle. The regulatory void has left Americans at the mercy of digital services that have every reason to exploit our personal information and little incentive to safeguard it.”

The Register: Top American watchdog refuses to release infamous 2012 dossier into Google’s anti-competitive behavior . “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has refused to release an infamous report into Google’s anti-competitive behavior, claiming that staff reports are exempt from America’s Freedom of Information Act.”


IEEE Spectrum: Natural Language Processing Dates Back to Kabbalist Mystics. “While specific technologies have changed over time, the basic idea of treating language as a material that can be artificially manipulated by rule-based systems has been pursued by many people in many cultures and for many different reasons. These historical experiments reveal the promise and perils of attempting to simulate human language in non-human ways—and they hold lessons for today’s practitioners of cutting-edge NLP techniques. The story begins in medieval Spain.”

Engadget: Google wants to give doctors web-like searches for medical records. “Google made much ado of its recently created Health unit, but it didn’t offer much insight into what that division would actually… well, do. Now, however, it’s considerably clearer. Google Health lead David Feinberg and CNBC sources have outlined some of the ideas his team has, and they revolve around (surprise!) search for both you and your doctor.” Good evening, Internet…

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