Quirinale Palace, Alexa, TikTok, more: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, December 18, 2021


Google Blog: A twist in the tale of the Italian Quirinale Palace. “The Quirinale Palace in Rome is one of the world’s most renowned heritage sites. Once home to popes it has been the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic since 1946. However, using the words of said President, Sergio Mattarella, the Quirinale Palace is also the ‘Home of All Italians’. This is due to its importance for Italian political and institutional life, as well as its incomparable artistic and cultural heritage, representing the genius and creativity of Italians. Google is proud to join forces with the office of the Italian Head of the State to invite everyone — Italians and people from all over the world — to make this place their home.”


MakeUseOf: How to Turn Alexa Into Santa Claus This Christmas. “‘Tis the season when people eagerly await the arrival of the most famous person of all. No, not Adele or Beyonce. Santa Claus! And in order to bring holiday cheer into our homes this Christmas, Amazon has added Santa Claus as its Alexa’s latest voice skill. Here’s how to set up Alexa’s new Santa Claus voice, what devices it will work on, and what you can ask Santa once it has been enabled.”

KnowTechie: TikTok is testing a tool that lets you stream directly from your PC. “TikTok’s new tool, Live Studio, lets you upload your video game playing to TikTok’s platform. Currently, the tool is in the testing phases, and only available ‘in a handful of Western markets for a few thousand users,’ according to a statement TikTok gave to TechCrunch.”


CNET: How the mining industry is using Minecraft to get into kids’ heads. “Cute mascots have always been useful educational tools, teaching life skills in an easily digestible manner. But in 2014, children in the Mackay region of Queensland, Australia, were confronted by an eldritch horror abomination of a mascot: Hector, the human-size lump of coal.”

The Verge: Reddit files to take the company public. “Reddit announced late Wednesday that it has started the process of taking the company public, by filing a confidential S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of shares to be offered, and the price range for the proposed offering haven’t been determined yet, the company said, adding that it was in a quiet period and could not provide further details for regulatory reasons, which is standard practice.”

University of Georgia: UGA Libraries to enhance access to archives on local urban renewal projects. “In January, the University of Georgia Libraries will begin a two-year effort to digitize its archival collections related to urban renewal projects in Athens during the 1960s and 1970s. The project, funded by UGA’s Office of the President, will provide free online access to thousands of pages of documents, surveys, reports, historic maps and photographs, correspondence and other materials held by the university’s Special Collections Libraries. Once digitized, this material will be openly available through the Digital Library of Georgia, a statewide initiative based at UGA.”


BNN Bloomberg: Google Faces Huge Fines in Russia as Putin Ally Wins Lawsuit. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google is facing potentially heavy fines in Russia after a court ruled it must unblock the YouTube account of a TV channel owned by a sanctioned ally of President Vladimir Putin. The Moscow Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld an April ruling that ordered the U.S. technology giant to restore the Tsargrad account or face a daily fine, the channel said in a statement Thursday. Settlement talks between the two sides failed to yield a deal in August.”

The Thaiger: Activists in Vietnam land dispute jailed for criticising government on social media. “Two Vietnamese activists have been jailed for social media content about a violent clash with the authorities that resulted in the deaths of 4 people. According to an AFP report, violence broke out as activist villagers were protesting plans to build a military airport on their land.”

TechCrunch: Google offers behavioral pledges on news payments in France to try to end costly antitrust litigation. “In its latest move to placate European competition regulators, Google has offered a set of commitments to France’s antitrust watchdog — in the hopes of settling a costly (for it) intervention over legally mandated payments for displaying snippets of news publishers’ content.”


Mashable: Digital map of Rio’s biggest favela is reintegrating vital public services. “From infrastructure to healthcare, Rio de Janeiro’s favelas have remained largely excluded from vital public services. Starting in Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela, a new digital map hopes to change that. Ran by MIT Senseable City Lab, ‘Favelas 4D’ uses 3D laser scanning technology to digital map the maze-like area.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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