afternoonbuzz

WhatsApp, Arizona Photojournalism, Facebook, More: Sunday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 16, 2020

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TechCrunch: WhatsApp hits 2 billion users, up from 1.5 billion 2 years ago. “WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app, revealed today just how big it has become. The Facebook -owned app said it has amassed two billion users, up from 1.5 billion it revealed two years ago. It also remains free of ads and does not charge its users any fee.”

AZCentral: Discover Arizona’s history with The Republic’s new retro Instagram. “The Arizona Republic riffled through thousands of images in our photo library, and we’re sharing them with you through our new retro Instagram account… The account, which launched Friday in celebration of Arizona’s 108th birthday, highlights the characters, scenes and settings that have graced The Republic’s pages for nearly 130 years (yeah, we’ve been around a while).”

Neowin: Facebook cancels San Francisco summit due to coronavirus fears. “Facebook announced on Friday that it had called off its upcoming global marketing summit out of caution for the coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: 5 Easiest Meditation Tools for Beginners to Learn Mindfulness. “Meditation is much easier than you might think. Meditation is a mental exercise that you can do at any point, and for any purpose. It can help calm anxiety, refresh your brain, change your mood, along with many other uses. These are some of the simplest guides and tools to you practice meditation. We’ve also included a couple of recommended apps, along with a repository of meditation apps for different purposes.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Engadget: Online-only platforms are going offline with permanent spaces. “The retailpocalypse started in 2010. It followed the 2008 global recession, with the parallel birth and rise of social media adding fuel to the growth of online shopping. Suburban and rural malls sat empty, underutilized or poorly maintained as the most affected brands lost their customer base in the squeezed middle class. Meanwhile, online retailers thrived without the overhead costs of a physical space. Nearly a decade later, the online-only platforms that disrupted retail are choosing to pay rent as an additional, unnecessary expense.”

Washington Post: Google redraws the borders on maps depending on who’s looking. “Google’s corporate mission is ‘to organize the world’s information,’ but it also bends it to its will. From Argentina to the United Kingdom to Iran, the world’s borders look different depending on where you’re viewing them from. That’s because Google — and other online mapmakers — simply change them.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In drive for transparency, Missouri lawmakers push for local government database. “Residents of Missouri counties, cities and towns could require local leaders to publish more financial information about government spending under a proposal endorsed by the House on Tuesday.”

Reuters: Turkish competition board fines Google $16.3 mln. “Turkey’s competition authority fined Google 98.35 million lira ($16.26 million) on Friday for abusing its dominant market position.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

The Star: Google Classrooms: trading children’s information for free online services?. “Because Google applications are cloud-based — meaning everything you do using a Google service rests on Google’s servers, not on your own computer — they access and collect information from all items our kids create, upload, or receive, including emails, documents, presentations, photos, videos, and audio content. Google also collects data on the search terms children use, how they move their cursors across or interact with pages, the devices they use, their locations, and who their classmates and teachers are.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

The Next Web: Scientist trains AI to write messages of love on candy hearts. “Janelle Shane, who in her day job creates computer-controlled holograms for studying the brain, collected genuine messages printed on the heart-shaped sweets to use as training data. She then fed them to a neural network so that it could learn the patterns behind the words.” I think “All Hover” was my favorite. Good afternoon, Internet…

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