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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Google’s on-by-default ‘Articles for You’ leverage browser dominance for 2,100 percent growth

When you’ve got leverage, don’t be afraid to use it. That’s been Google’s modus operandi in the news and publishing world over the last year or so as it has pushed its AMP platform, funding various news-related ventures that may put it ahead, and nourished its personalized Chrome tabs on mobile. The latter, as Nieman Labs notes, grew 2,100 percent in 2017.

You may have noticed, since Chrome is a popular mobile browser and this setting is on by default, but the “Articles for You” appear automatically in every new tab, showing you a bunch of articles the company things you’d like. And it’s gone from driving 15 million article views to a staggering 341 million over the last year.

In late 2016, when Google announced the product, I described it as “polluting” the otherwise useful new tab page. I also don’t like the idea of being served news when I’m not actively looking for it — I understand that when I visit Google News (and I do) that my browser history (among other things) is being scoured to determine what categories and stories I’ll see. I also understand that everything I do on the site, as on every Google site, is being entered into its great data engine in order to improve its profile of me.

Like I said, when I visit a Google site, I expect that. But a browser is supposed to be a tool, not a private platform, and the idea that every tab I open is another data point and another opportunity for Google to foist its algorithms on me is rankling.

It has unsavory forebears. Remember Internet Explorer 6, which came with MSN.com as the default homepage? That incredible positioning drove so much traffic that for years after (and indeed, today) it drove disgusting amounts of traffic to anything it featured. But that traffic was tainted: you knew that firehose was in great part clicks from senior citizens who thought MSN was the entire internet.

Of course the generated pages for individual users aren’t the concentrated fire of a link on a major portal, but they are subject to Google approval and, of course, the requisite ranking bonus for AMP content. Can’t forget that!

But wherever you see the news first, that’s your news provider. And you can’t get much earlier than “as soon as you open a new tab.” That’s pretty much the ultimate positioning advantage.

Just how this amazing growth occurred is unclear. If there’s been any word of mouth, I missed it. “Have you tried scrolling down? The news is just right there!” It seems unlikely. My guess would be that the feature has been steadily rolling out in new regions, opting in new users who occasionally scroll down and see these stories.

And unlike many other news distribution platforms, there isn’t much for publishers or sites like this one to learn about it. How are stories qualified for inclusion? Is there overlap with Google News stuff? What’s shown if people aren’t signed in? I’ve asked Google for further info.

Do you, like me, dislike the idea that every time you open a tab — not just when you use its services — Google uses it as an opportunity to monetize you, however indirectly? Fortunately, and I may say consistent with Google’s user-friendliness in this type of thing, you can turn it off quite easily — on iOS, anyway.

Open the menu at the top right of any tab and hit settings. There should be a “Suggested articles” toggle — disable that and you’re done. While you’re at it, you might just head into Privacy and disable search and site suggestions and usage data.

On Android? You’ll have to dig into the app’s flags and toggle the hidden setting there. Not as user-friendly.


Source: TechCrunch

Piracy causes Google to yank Kodi from its autocomplete list in search results

Google removed the Kodi term from its autocomplete list of search suggestions. The list now points to Kodiak-related search results. Google claims Kodi’s link to piracy is the reason for the removal.

The post Piracy causes Google to yank Kodi from its autocomplete list in search results appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Lindsay Lohan loses Grand Theft Auto V lawsuit on appeal – CNET

It’s game over for the actress, as an appeals court finds a game character Lohan called her “unequivocal” likeness is rather a “generic … twentysomething woman.”
Source: CNET

Tesla's Model S Recall Is Just Its Latest Problem

Automakers recall cars all the time, but Tesla just doesn’t need any more problems right now.
Source: Wired

Moment lenses — the DSLR killer?

I travel with a Canon DSLR and two primes, a 35mm f1.4 and an 85mm f1.2 (endearingly nicknamed, “the fat kid”). Switching lenses is cumbersome and not ideal in certain environments, like a Saigon street market, densely crowded with vendors, tourists and thieves.

After lugging this camera kit through six countries last year, I upgraded my iPhone to the X in hopes of replacing the DSLR as a travel camera. Despite our Editor in Chief’s praises for the iPhone X’s camera, it wasn’t enough for me. I needed more creative control and didn’t want to rely on mobile software.

The first few Google search results for “best iPhone lens” led me to Moment, a company that started off with a 2014 Kickstarter fund and since has grown into a well-respected smartphone lens manufacturer.

Moment recently released a new version of their four lenses: Superfish (fisheye), Wide, Tele Portrait and Macro. The update includes a new attachment interface where the lenses are slightly larger in diameter to provide a more secure attachment to the Moment smartphone cases. Their Wide lens also received a glass upgrade to a multi-element aspherical design for edge to edge clarity.

Prices range from $89.99 to $99.99, with an additional cost of $29.99 for the Moment smartphone case — you’ll need it to attach your lens.

Hardware

These lenses are not cheaply made of plastic, mass-produced in some dingy factory. They’re heavy little nubs handcrafted with aerospace-grade metal and the same high-end glass used in 4K film lenses.

They mount to the Moment case using a twist and lock system. Snapping it in was quite simple and I roughly shook the phone to make sure the lens was secured — it was.

I opted out of the Superfish lens (it’s not really my aesthetic) and packed the other three with me on a recent trip to Little Corn, a remote island several miles off the Nicaraguan coast.

Although I had planned to extensively use the lenses, the week was spent mostly napping in hammocks and eating lobster tacos, as one does when on a tropical island far away. I did, however, spend a couple of afternoons testing them out.

New Wide Lens

By far, this was my favorite of the three. The images produced were clear, dramatic and without much edge distortion.

L: iPhone X lens, R: Moment Wide Lens

L: iPhone X lens, R: Moment Wide Lens

It’s ideal for landscapes and cityscapes, but I would probably use it as an everyday lens; it adds character and a certain quirk to portraits.

New Macro Lens

With the macro lens, I was able to capture the tiniest details, from the filaments of a hibiscus flower to its petal veins. The removable diffuser hood softened the light so whites weren’t blown out.

L: iPhone X lens, R: Moment Macro Lens

L: iPhone X lens, R: Moment Macro Lens

Image quality is almost on par with my Canon macro lens, which also happens to be about 9x its cost. On the London map below, the letters in the street names are approximately 1mm tall.

L: Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, R: Moment Macro lens (blur on the top left corner due to a slight tilt when I took the photo)

There’s one drawback to the Macro Lens: you have to get close to the subject, real close (less than an inch away).

I would not recommend using this lens on a black widow or rattlesnake.

New Tele Portrait Lens

As a portrait lens, I was disappointed. I took pictures of Sam in several locations around the beachfront and wasn’t thrilled with any of them. Bokeh was barely noticeable and I’m pretty sure I could’ve just taken a few steps closer to achieve similar results.

L: iPhone X lens, R: Moment Tele Portrait Lens

After finishing the first draft of this review, I decided to try the lens again before I made a hasty assessment. I was wrong; moving a few steps closer doesn’t achieve similar results. I had forgotten about distortion when up close on iPhone X’s semi-wide lens; however, the difference is subtle.

L: iPhone X lens (apprx. one foot away), R: Moment Tele Portrait Lens (apprx. two feet away)

I’ve actually grown fond of this lens after testing it out one rainy morning in Brooklyn. While the 60mm focal length gets you closer to subjects without having to resort to digital zoom, the blurred edges add a nostalgic element similar to film cameras.

The iPhone X has a built-in telephoto lens, so I did a quick comparison.

L: iPhone X telephoto lens, R: Moment Tele Portrait Lens

There’s a faint, faint difference. If you’re on an iPhone X and are fussed about soft edges, skip this lens. On smartphones that don’t have built-in telephoto lenses, this would be my second choice to break away from sterile smartphone picture-taking.

Moment lenses add a bit of charm and perspective to mobile photography, to the point where you can trick the average person into believing the pictures were taken on a real camera.

I can’t completely switch over to a Moment lens mounted iPhone X as a travel camera just yet. It has nothing to do with Moment. Their lenses are impressive, but they’re not going to magically transform smartphone photos into DSLR-quality images. (I had naively hoped for this.) The iPhone X’s camera is great for daily snapshots, but the image files lack enough detail and information for my anal retentive Lightroom and Photoshop workflow. For now, I’ll stick with my clunky 5D.

For everyone else, step up your Instagram game. Moment’s reputation for producing the best smartphone camera lenses is well deserved.


Source: TechCrunch

AutoComplete: Toyota recalls 2018 Camry for oversized pistons video – Roadshow

Plus, Takata whistleblowers split $1.7M and the Alfa Romeo blacks out.
Source: CNET

Resistance isn’t futile! 6 tips for keeping your job amid the robot takeover

Whatever you do for a living, chances are that you’ve considered the possibility that you could be replaced by a robot. Here are our tips for how best to survive the A.I. job takeover.

The post Resistance isn’t futile! 6 tips for keeping your job amid the robot takeover appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Gadget Lab Podcast: What the New iPad Means for Consumers, and for Students

This week, we ask: Can Apple re-win the hearts and minds of educators?
Source: Wired

Best high-tech April Fools’ jokes

April Fool’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without pranks, now would it? It’s time to put away that whoopee cushion and bring your shenanigans to the twenty first century with these hilarious high tech pranks.

The post Best high-tech April Fools’ jokes appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Where China’s Tiangong-1 Won’t Land (And Where It Still Might)

Large swaths of Earth are already safe from falling space debris.
Source: Wired

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