Crap. USA.gov is no longer going to update its blog. To get updates, you either have to follow them on Facebook (getting updates from a liked Facebook page? Fat chance), Twitter (possible if you’ve got Nuzzel, otherwise you’re relying on timing and luck), or e-mail (here’s hoping USA.gov’s newsletter either dodges a spam filter or doesn’t end up in GMail’s “promotional” tab). With RSS feeds I knew I was going to get USA.gov’s updates. Now? Plllbbbt.
Oh, ugh. Google’s photo app made a really, really horrible mistake. “Google says it is ‘appalled’ that its new Photos app mistakenly labelled a black couple as being ‘gorillas’. Its product automatically tags uploaded pictures using its own artificial intelligence software.” This didn’t come up in testing so it could be fixed before release? Really?
BuzzFeed speculates about Twitter going an algorithmic route. If it does I will be very, very unhappy. Nuzzel will become much less useful. “In a worst-case scenario, an algorithmic feed could turn Twitter into an inferior version of Facebook, which might, in turn, alienate its core users. But Twitter is a company motivated by profit. And if that worst-case scenario juices revenue, it could prove to be one its investors accept, even as core users decry it.” Great, let’s shit Twitter up all we want to. As long as the investors are happy, right?
More Bing: it will start powering the search at AOL. “The 10-year deal with AOL is the latest to validate the exceptional quality of our search results and marketplace. No longer just a destination search engine, Bing is becoming an integral part of many popular third party devices and services, and Microsoft experiences including Windows, Cortana and Office.”
A campaign is underway to preserve the reel-to-reel recordings of Owsley “Bear” Stanley. This is going to be a huge endeavor as there are over 1300 reels and they’re kind of racing against time at this point before the reels degrade. “Although our campaign opens with a goal of $10,000, that’s just the start. The cost of digitally preserving these recordings is estimated to be US $300,000 to US $400,000 to fund two to four years of professional sound engineers’ studio time. Much of the work is a labor of love, but there is simply too much to do and not enough time for just unpaid volunteers.”
Okay, this just got extra-real: Uber has acquired part of Bing’s mapping assets. “Uber will acquire assets from Microsoft Bing, including roughly 100 employees focused on the product’s image collection activities. In short, Uber is absorbing data-collection engineers from Microsoft to bolster its own mapping work.”
The Digital Public Library of America has gotten a money boost and wants to expand its collections. “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is on the way to connecting online collections from coast to coast by 2017 – an effort boosted by a new $3.4 million investment, comprising $1.9 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and $1.5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. These two new awards, coupled with significant earlier support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities, will allow DPLA to open new Service Hubs that provide a way for all cultural heritage organizations across the country to connect through one national collection.”
Google’s self-driving cars are now tooling around Mountain View. “These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving. They’re ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. The prototypes’ speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and they’ll drive using the same software that our existing Lexus vehicles use—the same fleet that has self-driven over 1 million miles since we started the project. “
Bing’s homepage now has sound. This is cool as long as it’s not autoplay. “…when you visit us for your daily dose of surprise and delight, look for the audio icon on the bottom-right of screen to know if you can hear the homepage that day—sound is off by default so you can choose when and where to listen. If you want to learn more about today’s video and the geese calls captured by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, click on the camera icon, also on the bottom-right. This will take you to Bing’s Backstage, where we give you more information about the daily image.”
Google’s got a new health wearable, and it sounds like it’s going straight into a vertical market. Which is how they should have done Glass, but anyway. “The health wristband can monitor pulse, heart rhythm, skin temperature, light exposure and noise levels, providing valuable data not just about a patient, but about their surroundings, too. Where this niche wearable differs from those aimed at the more broad consumer market is mostly in accuracy; the readings it takes are more scientifically rigorous than those achieved by the current crop of Android Wear-powered devices, and the dedicated medical wearable unveiled today also monitors and reports information continuously, for better delivery of real-time actionable info to researchers and medical professionals.”
Reddit is ten years old and has released a bunch of stats. “In addition to detailing that the site now receives nearly 230 million unique monthly visitors, the blog post also specified that the site has received a staggering 16 billion upvotes (and surprisingly only 2.5 billion downvotes) since it was founded in 2005. What was also impressive was the sheer amount of page-view volume that the small crew at Reddit has had to deal with. The post said that there were 334,626,161 monthly page views per each of the 30 Reddit engineers.”
That was very nice of him. Apparently Kenneth Cole found out about the theft of a Kenneth Cole messenger bag via Google Alerts, tracked down the victim, and replaced the bag. What a nice young man.
That’s weird: Google is sending searchers to nonexistent videos. “Google offers a dedicated Google Video search designed to bring back videos from across the web, in addition to its own YouTube service. However, something seems seriously wrong with Google Video. Some searches promising to lead people to video content fail to actually do so.”
Happy 20th birthday to genealogy site Cyndi’s List! Cyndi has a blog post about how it all began. “It’s all Nancy Peterson’s fault. She was the editor of the TPCGS quarterly. She came right up to me at the meeting and asked if I could turn my one-page list into an article for the quarterly. Maybe five or six pages long. I said I could, but I would have to categorize the bookmarks. That’s when that started. I scoured the Internet for all-things genealogy. I found topics and ethnic groups and locations that I knew nothing about, but I figured others would find them useful. The article was published in the late fall of 1995. I need to find a copy of that article for my archives. I didn’t keep a copy that I can find. And I had no way of knowing what it would become.”