Google I/O, Bookshlf, Coronavirus/GitHub, More: Thursday Evening ResearchBuzz, March 5, 2020


CNET: Google I/O canceled due to coronavirus concerns. “Google on Tuesday said it’s canceling I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference and its biggest event of the year, because of concerns about the novel coronavirus that’s caused worldwide disruptions.”

TechCrunch: Bookshlf launches an app to curate and share your favorite digital content . “Bookshlf has created a new way for people to recommend media — whether it’s music, videos, articles, podcasts or even tweets — to their friends and to the rest of the world. The New York-based startup is officially launching its web and iOS app this week and announcing that David A. Steinberg, co-founder and CEO of marketing company Zeta Global, has signed on as both an investor and advisor.”


Reclaim the Net: Chinese citizens turn to GitHub to archive coronavirus outbreak events in a bit to avoid censorship. “As ever with any loss or grievance, we have on one hand the human desire to forget bad experiences in order to be able to move on with your life – and on the other, the urge to keep some memories, regardless of how traumatic they may be. In China, this is even more involved and difficult, as citizens are racing to preserve coronavirus memories against censors. And on GitHub, as it happens to operate both in China – and ‘beyond the Great Firewall.'”

This story is from Super Tuesday (non-American readers, Super Tuesday is when a bunch of states in the US (including mine) go to the polls to vote in our political parties’ primaries. The good news is you get an “I voted” sticker. The bad news is that you get no relief from the constant existential dread and sense of impending doom. But, hey, sticker!) Vox: Facebook’s top news stories are like a window into an alternate dimension. “There are a lot of consequential and important things going on. Not only is today Super Tuesday, but Americans are on edge about the spread of the novel coronavirus that could reach pandemic proportions. But if you consume your news on Facebook, the biggest news of the day has to do with Hillary Clinton’s emails. Yes, really.”

Politico: City Hall calls Google-backed LinkNYC consortium ‘delinquent’. “New York’s high-tech solution to the pay phone has run into a low-tech problem: money (or the lack thereof). The Google-backed LinkNYC program that was supposed to replace New York City’s payphones with 9-foot-tall ‘Links’ on city sidewalks has ground to a halt. The CityBridge consortium stopped installing Links in the fall of 2018, said New York City’s new commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications on Tuesday.”


The Verge: ICE rigged its algorithms to keep immigrants in jail, claims lawsuit. “A new lawsuit claims Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rigged software to create a ‘secret no-release policy’ for people suspected of breaking immigration laws. ICE’s New York office uses a risk assessment algorithm to recommend that an arrestee be released or detained until a hearing. But the New York Civil Liberties Union and Bronx Defenders say the algorithm was changed in 2015 and again in 2017, removing the ability to recommend release, even for arrestees who posed no threat.”

This is wrong and it needs to stop now. Techdirt: Bogus Automated Copyright Claims By CBS Blocked Super Tuesday Speeches By Bernie Sanders, Mike Bloomberg, And Joe Biden. “Another day, another example of copyright out of control. The latest, as highlighted by Matthew Keys, is that bogus (almost certainly automated) copyright claims by CBS ended up blocking a live stream of a Bernie Sanders speech, but similar notices also interrupted speeches by Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden.”


Route Fifty: The Official Coronavirus Numbers Are Wrong, and Everyone Knows It. “In total, fewer than 500 people have been tested across the country (although the CDC has stopped reporting that number in its summary of the outbreak). As a result, the current ‘official’ case count inside the United States stood at 43 as of this morning (excluding cruise-ship cases). This number is wrong, yet it’s still constantly printed and quoted. In other contexts, we’d call this what it is: a subtle form of misinformation.”

The Conversation: Children’s use of social media is creating a new type of digital native. “The first generation of people who have grown up using social media such as Facebook and Instagram are entering the workforce. For as long as this breed of so-called ‘digital natives’ has been alive, some academics have been arguing that using the internet from a young age would shape the way people learn, work and even think. But it is still not clear how useful this kind of generational divide actually is, or how different these young people are to ‘digital immigrants’ born in a pre-internet age. Some studies suggest what matters is not age but the level of experience and knowledge people have with a particular technology.”


Music Radar: It turns out that Google Wear OS smartwatches contain a secret drum machine. “You probably didn’t buy your smartwatch planning to make music on it – particularly, it has to be said, a Google-powered smartwatch – but it turns out that high-tech timepieces that run the company’s Wear OS contain a hidden drum machine.” Good evening, Internet…

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