Mary Rowe, Google Meet, DuckDuckGo, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, November 20, 2021


MIT News: MIT Libraries digitizes materials from Mary Rowe. “Mary Rowe, former MIT ombudsperson, has donated professional papers to the MIT Libraries’ department of Distinctive Collections as part of the Women@MIT archival initiative, which highlights the contributions of women at the Institute by acquiring, preserving, and making accessible their personal archives. Rowe is a conflict management specialist whose work contributed to MIT having one of the world’s first anti-harassment policies and one of the first organizational ombuds offices. Important portions of her collection have now been digitized by the libraries, making the history of Rowe’s groundbreaking work more accessible.”


9to5 Google: Google Meet adds new ‘immersive backgrounds’ that mimic a real-life cafe or condo. “One way of making the endless torrent of personal and work video calls more palatable is by setting unique backgrounds. Google Meet on the web is introducing new ‘immersive backgrounds’ that attempt to give your surroundings some life.” Looks like this is restricted to Workplace customers at the moment.

Fast Company: DuckDuckGo’s Android anti-tracking protection does what Google won’t. “While Apple has been aggressive about building anti-tracking tools into iOS, Google is still working on a way to let Android users opt out of being tracked across apps. And unlike Apple, Google—whose whole business is based on keeping tabs on users to target advertising—won’t require app makers to get opt-in permission if they want to track you in the first place. So now, privacy-centric search company DuckDuckGo is stepping in with its own privacy protections for Android users.”

Associated Press: Google Reaches Content Deals With German Publishers. “Google said Friday it has signed agreements with several large German publishers to avoid copyright disputes over the use of their material. The Internet giant said it reached deals with publishers including news weeklies Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, technology portals Golem and Netzwelt, as well as the business publications WirtschaftsWoche and Manager Magazin.”


PRNewswire: The Henry Ford Acquires Multimedia Archive of Artist and Pioneer Lillian F. Schwartz (PRESS RELEASE). “The Henry Ford is proud to announce today the acquisition of the Lillian F. Schwartz Collection. Comprised of over 5,000 2D and 3D items, the collection contains Schwartz’s artwork, personal papers, photographs, books and more, spanning from her childhood into her late career. Best known for her pioneering work in computer generated art and computer-aided art analysis, Lillian Schwartz created groundbreaking film, video, animation, special effects, virtual reality, and multimedia works of art throughout her career…. The collection is currently at The Henry Ford and being digitized for online accessibility.”

Irish Tech News: TG4 Appoints Its First Archivist. “TG4 wants to increase public access to the station’s digital archive as they celebrate 25 years on air. As a custodian of Irish language Linguistic Assets broadcasting legacy, The TG4 archive contains a valuable and varied repository of material. The development of the digital archive will continue in 2022, work that has been ongoing since the end of 2011. When complete, TG4’s Irish Language Digital Archive will be one of the most extensive and significant bodies of Irish language audio-visual material in the world.”

Bleeping Computer: Winamp prepares a relaunch, new beta version almost ready. “Winamp is getting closer to release with a redesigned website, logo, and a new beta signup allowing users to soon test the upcoming version of the media player. Before we streamed our music, users would rip their albums or download MP3s to listen on their computer using media players. One of the most popular media players to play MP3s was Winamp, with its retro skins and animated visualizers that moved along with the music you were playing.”


Reuters: S.Korea lawmaker says Apple, Google not doing enough to comply with app store law. “Apple Inc and Alphabet’s Google are not doing enough to comply with a South Korean law that bars dominant app store operators from forcing app developers to use their payment systems, a lawmaker who spearheaded the amendment told Reuters.”

BNN Bloomberg: Google Will Pay AFP for Its News in First Deal After French Fine. “Google has agreed to pay news wire Agence France-Presse for the use of its content, its first deal following a fine from the French regulator over its approach to negotiating compensation for news organizations. The Alphabet Inc. division and AFP struck the accord after months of negotiations, the companies said in a statement Wednesday. The amount wasn’t disclosed. The news agency reported that the deal would cover content in all European Union countries for five years.”


The Verge: Alphabet is putting its prototype robots to work cleaning up around Google’s offices. “What does Google’s parent company Alphabet want with robots? Well, it would like them to clean up around the office, for a start. The company announced today that its Everyday Robots Project — a team within its experimental X labs dedicated to creating ‘a general-purpose learning robot’ — has moved some of its prototype machines out of the lab and into Google’s Bay Area campuses to carry out some light custodial tasks.”

The Tribune: PG&E is using AI cameras to watch for wildfires across Central Coast — including SLO County. “PG&E has installed a dozen cameras equipped with artificial intelligence in San Luis Obispo County as part of a statewide effort to attempt to prevent the kind of devastating wildfires that ravage California each year.”


CNET: Comedy Wildlife Photography Award winners highlight animals’ lighter side. “If these photos are any proof, animals have their best and worst days too. Raccoons share secrets, fish are awed by their companion’s ability to jump, a pigeon is defeated by a fallen leaf and a prairie dog faces down a bald eagle. There’s a smile for every mood in this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards winners.” Good morning, Internet…

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