Ars Technica: Google Maps finally gets step-by-step transit navigation. “Google Maps is an awesome app for getting you where you need to go, but lately the app has treated transit directions like a second-class citizen. For years, driving, walking, and biking directions have had a ‘navigation’ mode, which shows you live map and gives you turn-by-turn directions. Transit has doesn’t have a ‘navigate’ mode, though—it only ever shows a flat list of directions. Today, Google is finally adding an actionable navigation mode to transit directions.”
Phys.org: Companies turn your Facebook friends into a sales force. “Unsolicited calls and face-to-face pitches once defined multilevel marketing—a $35-billion industry that recruits an ever expanding network of independent distributors to sell their products rather than rely on bricks-and-mortar stores. Instead, today’s generation of multilevel marketing brands including Rodan + Fields, Stella & Dot and LipSense are often discovered on social media platforms such as Facebook, which gives distributors instant access to a vast network of potential customers and recruits with the swipe of a finger.”
Vanity Fair: Some Ex-Employees Plan To Wrestle Peter Thiel For The Ghost Of Gawker Past. “More recently, as Gawker’s bankruptcy winds down, it’s been reportedthat Thiel himself is interested in purchasing its remaining assets, mainly the name and its online archive. Last month, Thiel’s lawyers filed a motion in court, challenging a provision that kept Thiel from buying Gawker.com’s assets. This could set a plan in motion for Thiel to buy Gawker.com; the domain still hasn’t been sold, and a buyer would not only be able to purchase the domain but all of the Web site’s archives, and be able to do with them whatever they wish. ‘The idea of an anonymous group trying to buy a defunct media company would have made a great Gawker story,’ one former Gawker editor told me. Still, they added, ‘There’s nothing worse than the alternative—even if we have reservations, there’s literally nothing that could be worse’ than Thiel buying the archives.”
CNET: NBA mixes it up with Twitch partnership. “Here’s one for basketball fans who’ve grown tired of the same old game presentation that’s been used for decades. In hopes of appealing to younger fans, the NBA is experimenting with the broadcast format by streaming 2017-2018 season minor league games on Twitch, the Amazon-owned social video service better known to the gaming community.”
TechCrunch: Google AI helped find the first solar system outside our own with 8 planets. “Google and NASA today announced the discovery of a new planet in solar system Kepler 90, achieved using machine learning. By applying neural networking to Kepler data, scientists have found, for the first time, an eighth planet in the Kepler-90 system – this ties the Kepler-90 system with our own system for the most planets in any known system.”
PC Authority: DuckDuckGo: The privacy-conscious search engine taking the fight to Google by NOT tracking you. “The DuckDuckGo search engine was launched in 2008 by founder Gabriel Weinberg, who funded it himself until it secured investment with Union Square Ventures in 2011. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength. According to figures from the website Alexa, DuckDuckGo has almost doubled its popularity in the past year, giving it the title of 400th most popular website worldwide. In September, the website reached 19 million direct searches, a figure that has shown a gradual increase throughout the year.”
Washington Post: Facing a rebellion of furious creators, Patreon backs away from a new fee. “Creators, and by extension, their fans, tend to have an uneasy relationship with the companies on which their businesses depend. And for good reason: A slight tweak to a YouTube algorithm or advertising policy can have a dramatic impact on the income of someone’s channel. They might sympathize with fans who turn on the platform, but they still need those fans to stick with them to make money. The thing is, Patreon has benefited in the past from a reputation as one of the relatively good guys among those companies.” Patreon did something else earlier this year that made me uneasy, so the fee change isn’t the only thing that’s been bothering me about them. I’m looking into other options; keep an eye out for an article early next week.