Bellingcat, Yahoo, Google, More: Friday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, November 17, 2023


Bellingcat: A New Tool Allows Researchers to Track Damage in Gaza . “A new tool, originally developed to estimate damage in Ukraine, has now been adapted and applied to Gaza. The tool can estimate the number of damaged buildings and the pre-war population in a given area within the Gaza Strip. The tool has already been used by a number of media outlets, but it is freely available for anyone to use and we have outlined its key features below.”


Search Engine Land: New Yahoo Search experience to start rolling out in the first weeks of 2024. “Yahoo Search is expected to start rolling out aspects of its redesigned search experience in the first weeks of 2024. Brian Provost, the Senior VP and General Manager of Yahoo Search, said Yahoo Search will be launching in the very early days of 2024.”

Search Engine Journal: Google Launches “Notes” To Add User Comments In Search Results. “Google announced the launch of a new experiment called Notes that will allow users to view and share tips alongside search results, per an announcement released Tuesday morning. Notes is being released through Google’s Search Labs, which offers early previews of experimental features so users can test new capabilities not yet available widely.” I know a lot of people are talking about web annotation like it’s new. It’s not. I still remember what a disaster Third Voice was. RB Firehose has a web annotation tag going back to 2016.


The Guardian: ‘No one else is saving it’: the fight to protect a historic music collection. “The ARChive of Contemporary Music, which houses more than 90m songs and is supported by names such as Martin Scorsese, is in need of a new home.”

News Australia: Google launches Indoor Live View at Sydney Airport. “There is nothing more annoying than being in desperate need of a coffee at the airport only to learn you’ve gone in the wrong direction and have to trek all the way back. That, together with not knowing where the nearest bathroom or a specific retail store is located, will soon be a thing of the past after Sydney Airport partnered with Google to create an internal map called Indoor Live View.”

TechCrunch: Pebble, a startup that tried and failed to take on Twitter, finds new life on Mastodon . “Pebble, a startup that took on Twitter and failed, has returned from the dead — as a Mastodon instance, it seems. The company announced last month that it was shutting down its Twitter/X alternative citing the increasingly competitive landscape, X’s ability to retain users and its own failure to gain traction with a wider audience. But after deliberately avoiding any plans to participate in the decentralized social network Mastodon during its time as a startup, Pebble has now given itself a fresh start as a dedicated Mastodon server dubbed”


The Register: Google Workspace weaknesses allow plaintext password theft. “Novel weaknesses in Google Workspace have been exposed by researchers, with exploits potentially leading to ransomware attacks, data exfiltration, and password decryption. Researchers at Bitdefender say the methods could also be used to access Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with custom permissions and could move from machine to machine.”

AFP: Musk’s X launches court fight with Australian watchdog. “Australia’s online safety watchdog said Thursday it was being taken to court by Elon Musk’s X in a fight over the platform’s failure to outline how it combats child sexual abuse content.”


Tech Xplore: AI images of white faces are now ‘hyper-real’: Study. “AI is now so good at depicting white people that the images are ‘hyper-real’, said the report in the journal Psychological Science. But AI tends to depict people of other ethnicities with white features because the data used to train the algorithms is biased, said lead author Amy Dawel from the Australian National University (ANU).”

University of Toronto: Want to be more persuasive online? Use the present tense: U of T study. “Online reviews, on average, tend to use a lot of present tense verbs. Researchers found with every increase in present tense, helpfulness ratings rose considerably, and with every increase in past or future tense, they dropped. The trend persisted when the researchers looked only at reviews with more than zero upvotes, and across reviews collected before Amazon removed its downvote feature in 2019.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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