Google My Business, Twitter, Web Stats Tools, More: Tuesday Buzz, November 29, 2016

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google is testing chat for businesses. “Google is now testing a new feature in the Google My Business area that lets customers initiate a chat with your business from your local listing in Google search or Google Maps. This was first spotted by Dino Basaldella who posted it on Google+.”

USEFUL STUFF

Good stuff from Glenn Fleishman: How to protect yourself on Twitter with its improved mute, report, and filter tools. “There’s a tendency for media to accuse people of living in echo chambers composed only of like-minded people, reinforcing sometimes ill-conceived notions about others. Twitter’s filtering and blocking tools can play into that. But there’s an obvious difference between being exposed to ideas that differ from ones you hold and being being bombarded by offensive or abusive statements and images. Here’s some advice about how to configure and use Twitter’s new tools, including one rolled out earlier this year, both to fight abuse and to keep your timeline more to your liking.”

From Hongkiat: Top 8 Free Web Statistics Tools. “A web analytics tool is mandatory for every website to keep track of traffic and create strategies according to it. Thankfully, there are many web statistics tools available that you can use on your website to track traffic count, type and behavior, etc.”

From Search Engine Land: SEO without SERPs is here with Google Assistant, Home and Amazon Echo. Here’s how to survive. “There are many times where Google Home gets stumped and says ‘Sorry, I’m not sure how to help with that,’ but not nearly as many as Amazon Echo, as you can see in Danny Sullivan’s review. For the most part, it’s useful — and sometimes fun. And as more people use smart speaker devices like these to get their information in a world without search engine results pages (SERPs), SEOs will have to adjust if they want to stay relevant. Here are three ways SEOs can best position themselves for a world of assistant search without SERPs, powered by devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo.”

If you want to shop online but want to know the backstory behind what you’re buying, this Chrome extension might help. “DoneGood, a new browser extension and mobile app, helps you find ethical and sustainable alternatives when you shop for anything online. All you need to do is download the free extension, and when you search for an item (‘men’s dress shirts,’ for example), DoneGood will pepper your search results with better businesses that support workers’ rights and environmental protection.”

A useful explanation: How Google Knows When Your Bills Are Due. “This week my smartphone received an alert from Google listing the balances due on my credit cards. My response was “never” do it again, but I have to wonder about my personal financial/identity security. How did they get this information? Is it legal?”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

PC World: Why you should start using Google Keep right away. “Google Keep is probably the best Google service that most people don’t use. Services like Keep, Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are often called ‘note-taking apps.’ But it’s an obsolete label. They’ve grown beyond their roots, now offering collaborative workflow, reminders, checklists, geofencing, optical character recognition, voice transcription, sketching and more.”

Dictionary.com’s word of the year, is, unfortunately, xenophobia. “In a Monday statement, Dictionary.com said searches for the word began rising last year but took off in the wake of the successful Brexit vote that will have the UK leave the European Union. The site said searches for xenophobia spiked 938 percent on June 24, the day after the vote, with hundreds of users looking it up each hour.”

About a week ago a lovely ResearchBuzz reader sent me some Cabot cheese. We had a cheese tasting party at dinner and a week later had a grilled cheese sandwich party featuring the cheese I brought, my uncle’s vegetable soup, and my husband’s cooked apples. (Not all in the same dish, obviously.) I am so grateful to Wendy for her generosity, and after reading this story I’m even more grateful that I’ve never been sent a toe. “Nothing like two people meeting over the internet and one person sending the other a toe in order to get a necklace made.” WARNING: This story has images of an amputated toe.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Norton has released a cybersecurity report that seems to indicate that people know how to protect themselves online, they just tend not to. “According to the 2016 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report by Symantec Corp., which surveyed 20,907 consumers in 21 markets, 76 percent of respondents said they know they should actively protect their information online, but still engaged in risky behaviors, including sharing passwords. Globally, 35 percent of people said they have at least one unprotected device, vulnerable to ransomware and phishing attacks, the report found. Within the last year, the report found that 689 million people in 21 countries experienced a cybercrime.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

I missed this Nature article from early October and I’m annoyed at myself: Democratic databases: science on GitHub. “When the Ebola outbreak in West Africa picked up pace in July 2014, Caitlin Rivers started to collect data on the people affected. Rivers, then a PhD student in computational epidemiology, wanted to model the outbreak’s spread. So every day she downloaded PDF updates released by the ministries of health of the virus-stricken countries, and converted the numbers into computer-readable tables. Rather than keeping these files to herself, she posted them to GitHub.com, a hugely popular website for collaborative work on software code. Rivers thought the postings might attract those interested in up-to-date information from the Ebola outbreak. ‘I figured if I needed it, other people would, too,’ she says. Rivers was right. Other researchers began to download the data and contribute to the project.”

Poynter: Facebook referrals are crucial for traffic to hyperpartisan and fake news sites. “Facebook is an important source of traffic for virtually all news outlets in the United States. New data, however, indicates that the social network is a far more important channel for some of the largest hyperpartisan and fake news sites in the country.” This is my shocked face.

What an interesting way to look at it: Has the internet become a failed state? “The Fragile States Index, an annual report published by the US thinktank the Fund for Peace and the magazine Foreign Policy, defines a fragile state as one ‘whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations and sharp economic decline’. Some, but not all, of this maps neatly on to cyberspace.” Good morning, Internet…

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Stalinist Russia, Las Vegas Court Records, Fashion Photography, More: Monday Buzz, November 28, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Washington Post: In Putin’s Russia, it just got easier to find the perpetrators of Stalin’s purges. “A Russian human rights group has published a database containing personal information about nearly 40,000 members of the notorious security force that carried out Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s purges, shedding light on an ugly stretch of history the Kremlin would prefer to remain hidden.”

The Clerk of Court for Clark County, Nevada – the county containing Las Vegas – is undertaking a very large digitizing project. “Business proposals from reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, candid photographs of alleged mob bosses, paperwork for plans to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Those public records and more — the fabric of Clark County’s history — will be at the fingertips of anyone with a computer and internet access as an ongoing initiative by the county clerk’s office comes to fruition.” An initial portal with recent documents will be available within a few months, while the entire project, as you might imagine, will take years.

Bloomsbury has launched a new digital archive of fashion photography (and the ONLY story I could easily find was in The Daily Mail.) “The work of the independent publisher Bloomsbury, the new online archive features everything from top designers’ graduate shows to candid shots of original supermodels like Naomi, Kate and Helena. Bloomsbury spent more than three years painstakingly digitising and cataloging more than 750,000 images, which date from the 1970s up to 2000, to create its new searchable fashion library.” As you might imagine, this is not a free resource.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Interesting. Amazon has now imposed a limit on reviews for items not bought at the online store. “In a bid to put a stop to false feedback, people can now write only five reviews a week of items not bought via the online store. The change applies to most products and is part of efforts to clamp down on people selling positive comments.”

USEFUL STUFF

Lifehacker had an app smackdown between Photomyne and Google’s new PhotoScan app. “For years you’ve been saying you’re going to scan all the photos you have in shoeboxes in the basement. Now’s as good a time as any. There are a few smartphone apps that’ll help you with this so you don’t need to pay someone or drag out a scanner to do it, but Photomyne and Google’s recently released PhotoScan are the two top choices.”

Social Barrel has a writeup on a browser addon that helps find ripped-off photos. “Enter Phototracker Lite. It is a browser plug-in that allows photographers to find their photos being published anywhere without their permission. This tool simplifies the reverse image search function. The best thing of it all is that it is a free Chrome plug-in. It is not a new tool. PhotoTracker Lite has been around for a while, but its latest update includes a one-click search.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Spoken languages are not the only languages which can become endangered. From Hawaii Public Radio: Hawai‘i Sign Language Still Whispers. “In 2013, scholars and linguists worldwide were stunned by the discovery of a new indigenous language in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i Sign Language was the first new language discovered in the U.S. since the 1930’s. There are about seven thousand spoken languages in the world, half of which are expected to be lost in the next fifty years. An even more dire fate could await existing sign languages. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on efforts to preserve Hawai‘i Sign and its unique view of the world.”

Facebook will just not give up on getting into India. From India.com: Facebook Express WiFi – A new cloaked Free Basics attempt by Facebook or genuinely something worthwhile? “…although it is a part of Facebook’s Internet.org, Facebook Express WiFi is not like their Free Basics. The very simple and basic concept or premise of Facebook Express WiFi is providing access to high-speed internet to even the rural pockets of the country and attempting to being everyone online. For this, they have partnered with all leading operators. However, not too many details about Facebook Express WiFi are known as of yet but it has one major point of difference and that is – it will not be free.”

Computer Dealer News has a tour of the first Google Shop in North America. “The Google Shop in Toronto, located at the Best Buy location in Heartland, Mississauga, joins Shops in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. These are four of 14 shops that will be opened by the end of 2016. Inside, customers will find all sorts of Google products, from the Pixel smartphone to the Chromecast.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Metro News, Ottawa Canada: Supreme Court to hear case involving Google search results. “Google will go before the Supreme Court in the weeks ahead, appealing an order that forced the tech giant to try to remove a company from the Internet. Equustek Solutions is a British Columbia company that got a court order against a competitor that was selling their patented technology online. The injunction didn’t stop the company, so Equustek got an injunction demanding Google delist their competitor from its search-engine results.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From MIT Technology Review: How to Hold Algorithms Accountable. “Various industry efforts, including a consortium of Silicon Valley behemoths, are beginning to grapple with the ethics of deploying algorithms that can have unanticipated effects on society. Algorithm developers and product managers need new ways to think about, design, and implement algorithmic systems in publicly accountable ways. Over the past several months, we and some colleagues have been trying to address these goals by crafting a set of principles for accountable algorithms.”

The Atlantic: People Censor Themselves Online for Fear of Being Harassed. “…a person doesn’t have to be the target of abuse for it to color their experience online. More than 70 percent of Americans say they’ve seen others harassed on the internet. For black users, that percentage rose to 78; among younger users and lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans, the proportion is close 90 percent. Groups that were more likely to come into contact with online abuse were also more likely to say that people on the internet are mostly unkind.” Good morning, Internet…

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Irish Soldiers, Brooke Heritage Trust, WordPress, More: Saturday Buzz, November 26, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: newly-digitized records of Irish soldiers. “We’ve recently made the enlistment books of the five disbanded Irish regiments available online, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This exciting new resource allows users to explore information on soldiers serving in these regiments during 1920-22.”

The Brooke Trust’s Brooke Archive Online is now available. What is the Brooke Trust? From the about page: “We are dedicated to sharing Sarawak’s unique history and heritage. Originally founded to safeguard the Brooke family’s collection of papers and artefacts, the Trust has evolved into a dynamic volunteer-led charity with a mission to share and explore the history and heritage of the Brooke dynasty in Sarawak through projects that engage, inform and inspire and encourage responsible care of our world.” And what, you may ask next, is Sarawak? It’s a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. (Doing ResearchBuzz has been fantastic for my geography knowledge.)

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

A release candidate for WordPress 4.7 is now available. “WordPress 4.7 is a jam-packed release, with a number of features focused on getting a theme set up for the first time. Highlights include a new default theme, video headers, custom CSS, customizer edit shortcuts, PDF thumbnail previews, user admin languages, REST API content endpoints, post type templates, and more.”

Seems like more and more of these social platforms are getting into sports. From SocialTimes: Instagram Eyes College Football With Correspondents Program. “Instagram wants to take fans of select college football teams behind the scenes with its Correspondents Program. The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network said in an email to SocialTimes that one student ambassador at each participating school will take over that school’s Instagram account and use Instagram Stories to share their experiences.”

USEFUL STUFF

Useful-for-a-given-value: The Daily Dot has a story about a Web site that mashes up two Twitter accounts. And, as they say, hilarity ensues. Unfortunately when I tried to visit the site myself it wouldn’t load. A victim of its own popularity?

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Mashable: Snapchat Spectacles makes wearing regular sunglasses a nuisance. “Look closely at the photo above. See anything unusual about my sunglasses? No? Good, because it isn’t a trick question. There is absolutely nothing special about my sunglasses. They’re just regular sunglasses I picked up in Berlin a few months ago. And yet, this morning, as I rode to work on a packed New York City subway train, someone mistook them for Snapchat Spectacles.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Techdirt: Convicted Felon Ask Google To Delist Multiple Government Websites Because His Name Is Protected By ‘Common Law Trademark’. “Over the past decade, [Anthony Lewis] Jerdine has been imprisoned for bank fraud, made the US Marshals fugitive list, been sanctioned for unauthorized practice of law, been called a vexatious litigant by the Ohio court system, and, lest we forget, formed a trust in his own name. There are many reasons to form a trust. Jerdine’s reason — an apparent SEO gambit — is none of them. Jerdine, like many people who don’t understand search engines, the internet, intellectual property law, or the Streisand effect, seems to believe if he shouts ‘TRADEMARK and/or COPYRIGHT’ loudly enough, magical things will happen.”

It looks like Google might reach a settlement with Indonesia. “Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google is expected to reach a tax settlement with the Indonesian government in the next few weeks, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Under the proposed settlement, Google will pay back taxes and fines, and the search giant will have to agree to a new calculation of profits made in the country, said one of the people, who declined to be named as the information was not public.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Phys.org: Internet of Things will demand a step-change in search solutions. “A recent article published in IEEE Intelligent Systems highlights the requirements the IoT will place on search engines and brings together the latest research being carried out in this field. ‘On Searching the Internet of Things: Requirements and Challenges’ has been written by leading researchers working in the field of next generation communications at the University of Surrey’s Institute of Communication Systems (home of the 5G Innovation Centre) and Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge Enabled Computing (Kno.e.sis) at Wright State University (USA).”

From the Wolfram Blog: Making Wikipedia Knowledge Visible. “Over the past few months, Wolfram Community members have been exploring ways of visualizing the known universe of Wikipedia knowledge. From Bob Dylan’s networks to the persistence of ‘philosophy’ as a category, Wolfram Community has been asking: ‘What does knowledge actually look like in the digital age?'”

Stonekettle Station: Facebook Nazis . “I’ve been banned from Facebook. My account has been suspended supposedly for violation of community standards. My profile is still active, you can still access the page and comment on posts that haven’t been deleted by Facebook. But I myself am locked out. I can’t post, comment, or access the Facebook messenger system. The community standard I violated is apparently the one where you’re not allowed to criticize actual, no fooling, Nazis.” Good morning, Internet..

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Indonesian Music, Image Glitching, Canadian Medical Journals, More: Sunday Buzz, November 27, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

New to me: an online archive of Lokananta Records. “Archivists and sound engineers at Lokananta have performed a commendable job of remastering music preserved on wax and turned them into a digital format in clear and pristine audio quality. With an expensive-looking website full of smart graphic design which is easy to navigate, the website could be a reliable source for anybody interested in digging deeper into Indonesia’s glorious musical part. While the online archive website of Irama Nusantara focuses more on the genre of rock and pop, Lokananta’s archive boasts an impressive amount of Indonesian traditional and folk music as well as a more exotic genre like Middle Eastern music, performed by a full-fledged orchestra made up of all-Indonesian instrumentalists. The digital version of the old songs are now also available on streaming services like Spotify and Deezer.” Please read the whole article. Please read especially about these archives being instrumental (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) in proving the origin of a song Malaysia claimed as its own. Remarkable. The URL in the article did not work for me; I found the site at http://www.lokanantamusik.com/ .

USEFUL STUFF

Fun Sunday: a suite of image-glitching tools. “Mosh offers 21 different glitching tools to apply to uploaded images, from polar pixelation to Bad Television and barrel blur. Best of all, the results are animated!”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Hang on while I throw everything in the room. From The National Post: New owner of two Canadian medical journals is publishing fake research for cash, and pretending it’s genuine. “The new owner of two prominent chains of Canadian medical journals is publishing fake research for cash, and pretending it is genuine. OMICS International, based in Hyderabad, India, had a reputation as a ‘predatory publisher’ when it bought Pulsus Group and Andrew John Publishing, two Canadian publishers of medical journals, earlier this year. Predatory journals print fake or incompetent studies to help unqualified academics pad their CVs and advance their careers.”

From the Harvard Business Review, an excerpt from a book but still interesting read: Better Questions to Ask Your Data Scientists. “The intersection of big data and business is growing daily. Although enterprises have been studying analytics for decades, data science is a relatively new capability. And interacting in a new data-driven culture can be difficult, particularly for those who aren’t data experts. One particular challenge that many of these individuals face is how to request new data or analytics from data scientists. They don’t know the right questions to ask, the correct terms to use, or the range of factors to consider to get the information they need. In the end, analysts are left uncertain about how to proceed, and managers are frustrated when the information they get isn’t what they intended.”

Is Amazon going to be the next player in video chat? “Amazon’s purchases of Twitch and Elemental Technologies appear to be only two parts of a bigger strategy at the company to move deeper into video services through acquisition. Last year, the marketplace and cloud computing giant also quietly acquired a startup out of San Francisco called Biba Systems, which develops and operates video messaging apps aimed at business users. Sources say that Amazon has been working on its own video messaging service, which it plans to unveil during its re:Invent AWS conference later this month.”

Quartz: Eric Schmidt struggled to answer a Google interview question. “Google is notorious for its fiendishly difficult and somewhat bizarre interview questions. But failed applicants should take heart: even Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent, struggled to answer the brainteaser once put to Google interviewees.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Ransomware is spreading via images on Web sites. “‘Locky’ ransomware was first discovered earlier this year. As the name implies, it locks up a victim’s computer by encrypting their files and demanding a ransom of .5 bitcoins (about $365) in exchange for a key. Earlier this week, Hacker News reported that a Facebook spam campaign was spreading Locky through image files in the SVG format. At the time, Facebook denied that this was happening. Now, security firm Check Point says that Locky is being embedded into several graphic formats and spread through ‘social media applications such as Facebook and LinkedIn.'”

Valuable according to whom? From the Hong Kong Free Press: Only documents without historical value will be approved for destruction, says Chief Sec. “Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has said that the reason the current administration is destroying more documents than previous governments is because of the accumulation of outdated files. Lam said that the potential historical value of documents are decided upon when their disposal schedules are compiled.” Apparently Hong Kong has no archive laws?

I $1 billion claim against Getty has been dismissed after an out-of-court settlement. (And would I love to have been a fly on the wall for THAT one.) “Three weeks after a federal judge gutted photographer Carol Highsmith’s $1 billion copyright claim against Getty Images, the two sides have ended their dispute with a settlement of the remaining claims. The terms of the settlement, over minor state law claims, were not disclosed.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

What a cool thesis: Examining twitter engagement in newspaper sports beat reporters’ live-game coverage. “Using retweets and likes as measures of engagement, this study found that sports information consumers are more responsive to newspaper sports beat reporters’ Twitter content during live-game coverage when it includes analysis, opinion, entertainment, and visual content. This study suggests that newspaper sports beat reporters should capitalize on their exclusivity and insider access to create Twitter content beyond mere play-by-play results that are typically available to those following the game through more traditional means such as television, radio, or in person. These strategies could distinguish newspaper sports beat reporters in an increasingly crowded sports media landscape.” Click on the “Research” link on the left side to read the full thesis.

Points: Fake News Is Not the Only Problem. “In an era of post-truth politics, driven by the 24-hour news cycle, diminishing trust in institutions, rich visual media, and the ubiquity and velocity of social networked spaces, how do we identify information that is tinted  — information that is incomplete, that may help affirm our existing beliefs or support someone’s agenda, or that may be manipulative — effectively driving a form of propaganda?”

TechCrunch: Machine learning can fix Twitter, Facebook, and maybe even America. “A lot of people, especially in San Francisco, think that open communities are great and that social media should be all about connecting people. But not everybody should be connected. Umberto Eco said that television gave us the village idiot so that we could feel superior, while the Internet gave us the village idiot as a source of truth. Nobody wants to argue with the village idiot, let alone millions of them.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Life Insurance Policies, Massachusetts Educators, Google Sites, More: Friday Buzz, November 25, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has launched a new nationwide finding tool for life insurance policies. “The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) today announced a national service that provides consumers with search capabilities to help them find a deceased person’s lost life insurance policies and annuities…. Consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.”

The state of Massachusetts has launched a new search engine for educator licensure. “The Department frequently receives inquiries about individuals’ licensure status. In creating the public lookup, ESE is both making that information easier for the public to find and joining the majority of states nationally that already offer such a tool. The Department’s public lookup tool provides information about the current status of licenses that educators hold. All information on the site is a matter of public record, and ESE consulted with teachers’ unions, principals’ associations, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Massachusetts Association of School Personnel Administrators when developing the tool.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google’s new Google Sites has gone live. Which is great because I didn’t find the old Google Sites good for much of anything. “Google Sites is essentially a drag-and-drop website builder for creating both public facing web pages and intranet sites that’s deeply integrated with the rest of Google’s tools. You can easily insert documents from Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and the rest of the (unfortunately named) G Suite tools into any site, for example. It also directly integrates with Google Analytics. The new sites now also allows multiple users to collaboratively edit a site (using the same tech the company also uses in Google Docs).”

Apparently Amazon is still deleting tons of sketchy reviews. “Amazon is making good on its promise to ban ‘incentivized’ reviews from its website, according to a new analysis of over 32,000 products and around 65 million reviews. The ban was meant to address the growing problem of less trustworthy reviews that had been plaguing the retailer’s site, leading to products with higher ratings than they would otherwise deserve.”

Ars Technica: Google flip flops on Google Cast/Chromecast branding again. “The Chromecast is Google’s most popular hardware product, but the company has never really been sure what to call it. After launching a scheme to rename much of the Chromecast ecosystem to ‘Google Cast’ earlier this year, Google seems to be flip-flopping on the branding and going back to ‘Chromecast’ again.”

USEFUL STUFF

If your library uses Google Scholar this is a cool thing to know: Building a Google Scholar search form with links to full text. A quick addition to a search form can put your library’s links to full text in the search results.

Wondering what the videos from Snapchat Spectacles look like? Here ya go. “Notably, Snapchat’s parent-company Snap Inc. describes itself as a camera company instead of a social media platform. Consumers who love Snapchat’s zingy approach should expect the same from Snap, which is about to go public at a value as much as $25 billion. Can’t wait to try on the Spectacles? Here are some creative ways Spectacles owners are using the sunglasses right now.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

NYT Magazine: Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture? “In April, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, addressed a room of developers about the importance of his social network. Facebook, he said, has the power to bring people together who might otherwise never have the chance to meet. ‘The internet has enabled all of us to access and share more ideas and information than ever before,’ he said. ‘We’ve gone from a world of isolated communities to one global community, and we are all better off for it.’ But that’s not what has happened. Zuckerberg’s idealism is belied by his desire to duck responsibility for mediating the content of his site.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Wow. Department of Justice press release: Leader of Teenage Drug Smuggling Ring Pleads Guilty; Used Facebook to Coordinate Drug Trafficking. “Roberto Torres Jr., 22, pleaded guilty in federal court today to leading a drug smuggling ring that used young adults and teenagers to smuggle vast quantities of methamphetamine into the United States. Torres, a U.S. citizen, admitted that he and his co-conspirators recruited dozens of minors, some as young as 15 years old, from Imperial Valley, California high schools and elsewhere to transport narcotics from Mexico into the United States. Torres used Facebook, the social networking platform, to coordinate the drug trafficking activity with his young smugglers. ”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Really depressing but really important, from the Wall Street Journal: Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds. “Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled ‘sponsored content’ and a real news story on a website, according to a Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college. The study… is the biggest so far on how teens evaluate information they find online. Many students judged the credibility of newsy tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a large photo was attached, rather than on the source.”

Sophos: Google secures five-year access to health data of 1.6m people. “Artificial intelligence firm DeepMind and a London hospital trust, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, have signed a five-year deal to develop a clinical app called Streams. The deal extends the already controversial partnership between the London-based startup, which was bought by Google in 2014, and the healthcare trust.”

Twitter is having trouble on all kinds of fronts put apparently it’s getting really good at compressing images. “Twitter has long been interested in compression—more than 300 million tweets are sent each day, many of them with attachments. In June, Twitter acquired Magic Pony Technology, an artificial-intelligence startup focused on making pictures look better at smaller file sizes, to jumpstart its machine-learning team. That team, now known as Twitter Cortex, earlier this month announced one of its first major successes: a machine-learning algorithm that can compress a photo more efficiently than JPEG2000 (an industry standard more modern but less common than just JPEG). Put plainly, that means sharper pictures that take up less space.” Good morning, Internet…

Do you like ResearchBuzz? Does it help you out? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. Not interested in commitment? Perhaps you’d buy me an iced tea. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!