How-To Geek: How to Detect Hidden Surveillance Cameras With Your Phone. “A family recently discovered a rude surprise at their Airbnb: a hidden camera disguised as a smoke detector in the living room. Here are two ways to check for cameras—in an Airbnb or elsewhere—using only an iPhone or Android phone.”
Krebs on Security: ‘Land Lordz’ Service Powers Airbnb Scams. “Scammers who make a living swindling Airbnb.com customers have a powerful new tool at their disposal: A software-as-a-service offering called ‘Land Lordz,’ which helps automate the creation and management of fake Airbnb Web sites and the sending of messages to advertise the fraudulent listings.”
I’m not sure how useful this is, but it’s fascinating. Futurism: This Site Uses Deep Learning to Generate Fake Airbnb Listings. “A new website called This Airbnb Does Not Exist uses machine learning to whip up plausible-yet-slightly-incoherent apartment listings — from a description to ersatz photos of the interior. The site’s creator, Christopher Schmidt, was inspired by This Person Does Not Exist, another recent viral site that uses a neural network to generate photos of nonexistent people. Schmidt trained This Airbnb Does Not Exist’s image generator using a dataset of apartment interiors and its text generator using actual Airbnb listings. The result: fully furnished figments of the digital imagination.” Also gloriously weird.
The Mercury News: Airbnb to launch new disaster relief registry in San Jose. “Starting in August, San Jose residents can sign up through Airbnb to offer space in their home, free of charge, to someone fleeing calamity. It’s a service Airbnb has offered for years — but always retroactively after disaster hits. The new tool marks the first time Airbnb is proactively building a database of volunteer disaster hosts. The San Francisco-based home-sharing company planned to announce the new program Saturday at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. Airbnb hopes eventually to expand the program beyond San Jose.”
The Verge: Airbnb adds new search filters for people with disabilities. “Airbnb has added new filters to its platform to help people with disabilities more easily find accommodations. The total of 21 new filters let people specify searches for step-free entry to rooms, wide entryways to fit a wheelchair through, elevators, showers that can accommodate wheelchairs, ramps, and more.”