The Extra Mighell - June 26, 2020

Technology and Assorted News, Among Other Things

Welcome to issue #11 of The Extra Mighell!

The links here represent the stories of the past week that I found interesting or noteworthy but had no time to cover on the blog - that’s why they’re “extra.”

On to the news….

Feels like the old days - the news this week was heavily dominated by Apple and Google.

Top News Stories

In this week’s Friday Tech Fix, I highlighted the most important takeaways from Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2020, with new features in the upcoming iOS14 and iPadOS14, as well as the exciting effects of Apple’s seemingly-boring decision to make its own computer processors. Give it a read!

This Week in Google

Other than that whole Apple event that went on this week, it was a big week for Google news:

Google will start fact-checking image searches, adding a summary and analyses to images that have been associated with hoaxes or have been fact-checked in the past. Given how easy it is to Photoshop and now deep-fake an image, hopefully a feature like this can help distinguish truth from otherwise. [Android Central]

In the past year Google has been giving users more control over what they can do with the information Google keeps about them, and now they’re placing a timer on it. Going forward, Google will automatically delete location history and record of web and app activity, as well as voice recordings, after 18 months. You can go in and set that to even shorter - 3 month. [New York Times]

Google also announced that it will start paying publishers to license content. Good for publishers, yes, but that’s not the real story. By entering into this deal, Google will effectively pay for you to bypass a paywall. So if you’re reading that Wall Street Journal ad or New York Times article, you can read it for free - as long as you’re using Google News to read it. [Axios]

Do you use Google Photos? If not - why not? It’s such a great photo management tool. And they just rolled out a bunch of new features in their latest release, including tabs called Memories, Recent Highlights, and a map view that shows where you took all those great shots [The Verge]

If you know me, you know how much I love smart displays, and how I have been using mine to video call my father while we are all separated. Now, Google will be making those video calls available for groups - so now you can bring the whole family in on a Duo or Google Meet call, right on your countertop [Engadget]

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or rather the application of it, got a bloody nose this week, when law enforcement mistakenly arrested the wrong man based on a faulty facial recognition match [New York Times]

As a result, and perhaps not surprisingly, AI experts are now calling for an end to algorithms that claim to predict criminality. Does this mean that “Future Crime” will never be a thing? [The Verge]

Social Media

Do you have more to say on Twitter than 280 characters will allow? Twitter is now rolling out audio tweets, where you can record 140-second messages instead of text-based tweets. It’s only available for iOS devices right now, but expect it to roll out to other versions of Twitter soon. While this new feature has a lot of great potential, I can also imagine all of the things horrible people can say in 140 seconds. So be careful out there [The Verge]

I don’t know about you, but I often find some people I follow on Facebook will, from time to time, post a news story from several years ago, freshly outraged as if it were happening today. Well, Facebook felt my pain, and they are now rolling out a feature that will show you a pop-up warning before you share an outdated story. Let’s see if it stops anybody…. [TechCrunch]

New Apps/Tools

Did you know that newsletters are the new blogs? Suddenly email is cool again! Some of you are reading this in email, after all. Well, Newsletter Stack is here to help you discover curated newsletters about anything, from Africa Tech to Writing.

Slack announced this week that it was rolling out Slack Connect, which allows up to 20 companies to connect with each other using Slack channels. Not sure why 20 companies would need to communicate with each other that often, but I’m sure someone will come up with a way to use it.

One problem I constantly have is finding that perfect image on the web for a presentation or blog post, but it’s just too small, or the resolution too grainy. With Upscale, you can now use artificial intelligence to enlarge your artwork to twice its original size. Not sure how they are going to defy the laws of physics to do that, but I’m all for them trying.

Does anyone here have OnStar in their cars? The service, which I’m guessing is feeling the heat from Apple Carplay and Android Auto, is rolling out an app called Guardian that will allow you to access OnStar when you’re not in your car. Think of it as General Motors’ version of Find My Friends.

Finally, this. What a beautiful audience - and not a single cell phone or flash photo to ruin the moment.

See you next week!
— Tom