Autoflip, Google Chrome, Wikipedia Monitoring, More: Wednesday Evening ResearchBuzz, February 19, 2020


The Next Web: Google’s new AI can intelligently crop videos for any screen size. “How many times have you seen a video being badly cropped when you watch it on a mobile device? It’s quite frustrating and annoying, and most of the time, there’s not much you can do about it. To address this problem, Google’s AI team has developed an open-source solution, Autoflip, that reframes the video that suits the target device or dimension (landscape, square, portrait, etc.).”

SlashGear: Chrome 81 is shaping up to be an AR-packed release. “With Chrome 81, Google is extending its support to augmented reality, specifically with the WebXR Hit Test API. In a nutshell, this means that developers can use a device’s camera view to correctly place virtual objects on surfaces both horizontal and vertical. Google promises that those who already played around with WebXR API won’t need to relearn things as it applies to both VR and AR experiences.”


Poynter: Need to monitor for arcane changes to Wikipedia entries? There’s an app for that.. “If you’ve got a stake in a Wikipedia page — whether it’s about your company, a topic you’re interested in or even about you, yourself — how do you keep track of the changes others make? How do you manage the site’s outsized influence through its confusing layers of editing? WikiWatch is the answer. WikiWatch tracks changes to articles across Wikipedia. It reports updates in real time, hosts them on a secure website and makes them shareable with others. It’s built for non-Wikipedia experts, AKA most of us.” This is a roundup article with a bunch of interesting stuff.

Search Engine Journal: 22 Proven Ways to Get Followers on Instagram. “Looking to grow your following on Instagram? Use these 22 proven tips to attract more followers.”


Motherboard: Kickstarter Employees Win Historic Union Election. “Kickstarter employees voted to form a union with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents more than 100,000 white collar workers. The final vote was 46 for the union, 37 against, a historic win for unionization efforts at tech companies.”

Route Fifty: One Month Out, Watchdog Warns About Census IT and Cybersecurity Challenges. “It’s less than a month until the federal government will start asking households across the country to complete the 2020 census questionnaire. But the Census Bureau is behind addressing IT and cybersecurity issues that could put the decennial survey at risk, according to a government watchdog report.”

BBC: Coronavirus: How a misleading map went global. “Here’s how a decade-old map showing global air travel was used incorrectly by news websites across the world, leading to headlines such as ‘New map reveals no country safe from coronavirus tentacles’ and ‘Terrifying map reveals how thousands of Wuhan travellers could have spread coronavirus to 400 cities worldwide’.”


Sydney Morning Herald: Google and Facebook to face new inquiry with powers to compel. “Online giants such as Google and Facebook are the targets of a federal investigation into the $10 billion internet advertising business in a move aimed at protecting consumers and curbing abuses of market power.” This is Australia.


VOX EU: The promise of automated historical data linkage. “A number of vital questions in the social sciences, relating to intergenerational mobility or assimilation of migrants for example, require data that follow individuals over time. The recent digitisation of historical population censuses for the US and other countries has increased their availability, but linking such historical data is challenging. This column compares the performance of various linking methods and concludes that automated methods perform no worse on key dimensions than (more expensive) hand linking using standard linking variables.”

City University of New York: Using Google Street View to analyze food retail in the Bronx. “In a study published recently in the journal Health and Place, a research team led by CUNY SPH Associate Professor Nevin Cohen used Google Street View (GSV) to verify the status of food retailers listed in a New York State database of licensed establishments in the Bronx from 2008 and 2017. GSV images enabled the researchers to identify discrepancies in the state database and to measure store openings and closings over the decade, as well as changes in store brands and types.” Good evening, Internet…

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