Facebook, Android, Yelp, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, January 12, 2020


CNET: Facebook’s redesigned look for desktops is coming before spring 2020. “Facebook’s begun giving some users access to its redesigned desktop experience, first announced in April, that’s less cluttered and uses brighter icons. The company said it plans to offer the new look more broadly sometime before the spring.”

Neowin: Open letter from 50+ organizations want Google to do something about Android bloatware. “Over 50 organizations including the Privacy International, Digital Rights Foundation, DuckDuckGo, and Electronic Frontier Foundation have written an open letter to Alphabet and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai about exploitive pre-installed bloatware on Android devices and how they pose a privacy risk to consumers.”

Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam. “Yelp has almost certainly been the most aggressive of the review platforms to take action against spam and review fraud. The company has historically and controversially tried to prevent any form of review solicitation….Now the company is stepping up efforts to stop ‘review rings,’ which have become something of a cottage industry online.”

PC World: Microsoft will begin replacing Microsoft Edge with its Chromium-based browser next week. “Microsoft said in November that the new Chromium-based Edge would begin replacing the ‘traditional’ Edge, which uses Microsoft’s own EdgeHTML to render pages. Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Modern Life & Devices Group, told PCWorld that the process would begin on January 15.”


Search Engine Journal: 9 Best AMP WordPress Plugins for Speed, Search & Tracking. “If you want your website to load quickly on a mobile platform, you should make use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology. Fortunately, that’s easy to do if you’re using WordPress because there are quite a few AMP plugins available. Even better: many of them are free.”


New York Times: ‘Techlash’ Hits College Campuses. “Many students still see employment in tech as a ticket to prosperity, but for job seekers who can afford to be choosy, there is a growing sentiment that Silicon Valley’s most lucrative positions aren’t worth the ethical quandaries.”

The Verge: Justin Bieber told fans to game Spotify and iTunes to give him a chart-topping song. “Last night, several people noticed that Justin Bieber reposted a fan’s guide to his Instagram that detailed how to game various platforms in order to boost his new single ‘Yummy.’ It’s unclear if the post was created by Bieber himself or someone on his team, but it has since been deleted.”


ZDNet: Google details its three-year fight against the Bread (Joker) malware operation. “While most malware operators give up once Google detects their apps, the Bread group never did. For more than three years, since 2017, Bread operators have been churning out new versions of their malware on a weekly basis.”

Wired: Amazon Takes a Swipe at PayPal’s $4 Billion Acquisition . “Days before Christmas, at the height of the last-minute holiday shopping rush, an ominous message appeared on It warned shoppers who used a popular browser extension called Honey that the service, which promises to track prices and discount codes, was ‘a security risk.'”

TechCrunch: Over two dozen encryption experts call on India to rethink changes to its intermediary liability rules. “Security and encryption experts from around the world are joining a number of organizations to call on India to reconsider its proposed amendments to local intermediary liability rules. In an open letter to India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday, 27 security and cryptography experts warned the Indian government that if it goes ahead with its originally proposed changes to the law, it could weaken security and limit the use of strong encryption on the internet.”


EurekAlert: New open-source software judges accuracy of computer predictions of cancer genetics. “Because simple clinical methods to test for genetic variation are vulnerable to missing a lot of cell-to-cell variability, recent computer tools have been developed to predict and characterise genetic diversity within clinical tumour samples. However, there is no existing common benchmarking approach to determine the most accurate computational methods. The study, published in Nature Biotechnology, developed open-source software that can be used to judge the accuracy of computer predictions and establish this benchmark.”


Interesting Engineering: World’s First Tablet for the Blind Is Here. “If you happen to be reading this and also blind, you might be using a Tactile Pro Braille Tablet by PCT. An Innovation Award Honoree at CES, this sleek tablet allows people with visual deficiencies to utilize technology in a way never before possible. In essence, the device is a keyboard and display for braille that interfaces through Bluetooth with smart devices.” Good morning, Internet…

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