Google Grants, Satellites, Yandex, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, December 23, 2019


Google Transparency Project: New Data: Google Grants to Academics. “Today, we’re making available a new data set of nearly 3,000 financial grants awarded by Google to academic researchers. Google discloses its grants to academics on its website, but the disclosure pages are cumbersome to navigate and impossible to search by name. So we’ve created a searchable database for researchers to use.”

New-to-me, and now updated, from the Union of Concerned Scientists: UCS Satellite Database Update: More than 2,200 Active Satellites. “We have updated the UCS Satellite Database, including launches through September 30, 2019. Lots of movement this time, with 209 satellites added and 53 removed for a total of 2,218 actively working satellites. Much of the growth is being driven by the deployment of large commercial satellite systems.”


Search Engine Journal: Yandex Announces Major Algorithm Update. “Yandex calls its update Vega. This update features 1,500 improvements. Of those improvements, Yandex highlighted two that they said impacts the search results in an important way.”

Engadget: Google Lens now lets you virtually dye your hair. “Coloring your hair is a fun way to change your look — but you never quite know how the end result will turn out before you pull the trigger. Until now, that is, as L’Oréal has partnered with Google Lens for a pilot which offers a fast way to try out hair colors virtually.” As long as you’re at a participating Walmart.


How-To Geek: How to Create a Gantt Chart in Google Sheets. “A Gantt chart is a commonly used type of bar chart that illustrates the breakdown of a project’s schedule into tasks or events displayed against time. Google Sheets has a handy feature to help you create a Gantt chart for your project.”


Search Engine Land: The big list of 2019 Google search algorithm updates. “Google’s pace of tweaking and updating Search has accelerated dramatically — it made 3,200 changes to Search in 2018 alone, up from about 400 changes back in 2010. Just a sliver of these changes receive public confirmation or even draw substantial attention, but those that do can (sometimes) provide insights into the kinds of content that Google prioritizes and ranks well.”

Flickr Blog: Top 25 Photos on Flickr in 2019 From Around The World. “To compile this top 25 list, we started with an algorithm that took into account several engagement metrics, like how many times the photo was viewed, faved, or commented. The selection also involved curation by Flickr staff. Most of the top photos come from long-term community members, professional and self-taught photographers from different countries around the world with an eye for people, nature, and beautiful landscapes.”

BuzzFeed News: Facebook Is Still Prioritizing Scale Over Safety. “Facebook’s growth at any cost mentality has birthed innumerable scandals over the past decade — election meddling, political discord, privacy invasion. Yet today, after repeated apologies and promises to do better, that mentality remains largely unchanged. BuzzFeed News has learned the company continues to evaluate and compensate product managers based mostly on their ability to grow its products, with little regard to the impact of those products on the world.”


Techdirt: Abbott Laboratories Sends Heavy-Handed Copyright Threat To Shut Down Diabetes Community Tool For Accessing Blood-Sugar Data. “A few months back there was a post on Diabettech about some code posted to GitHub. A patch to Abbott Laboratories’ LibreLink app allowed data from the same company’s FreeStyle Libre continuous monitor to be accessed by other apps running on a smartphone. In particular, it enabled the blood-sugar data to be used by a program called xDrip, which provides ‘sophisticated charting, customization and data entry features as well as a predictive simulation model.’ Innocent enough, you might think. But not according to Abbott Laboratories, which sent in the legal heavies waving the DMCA.” Heaven forbid people get as much access to and use of their own personal medical information as possible. Pllbbt.

ScienceBlog: How Vulnerable Is Your Car To Cyberattacks?. “The emergence of smart cars has opened the door to limitless possibilities for technology and innovation – but also to threats beyond the car itself. New research from Michigan State University is the first to apply criminal justice theory to smart vehicles, revealing cracks in the current system leading to potential cyber risks.”

Lifehacker: ‘Iloveyou’ and the 24 Other Worst Passwords of 2019. “Don’t use bad passwords. Not even for stupid stuff. Because the dumb social network you join today might add a wallet or a cloud service or a camera some day, and before you know it, the only thing stopping someone from draining your bank account and spying on your home is the word ‘dragon.'”


The Verge: 16 predictions for social networks in 2020. “And just like that, we’ve reached the final issue of the year — and also, somehow, the decade. As is tradition around here, let’s close out the year with some predictions from you about where platforms and democracy are headed in 2020 and beyond.” Good morning, Internet…

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