Tuesday, 18 November 2014

What's Hot in Digital This Week? Here's Our News Round-Up

Once again, it is time for the weekly Traffic Optimiser news-round up! Read on for some of the latest updates from the digital world.

The brand new Amazon Echo is a cloud-connected room speaker with a built in digital assistant, similar to Siri, Cortana and Google Now. Named Alexa, this digital assistant will play music on command, answer questions such as “What is the tallest building in the world?”, take shopping orders and more.

Russia planning an alternative version of Wikipedia

Russia’s presidential library has announced that the country plans on constructing an alternative version of Wikipedia. The aim of this project is to provide better information about Russia than what is currently available on Wikipedia.  According to an analysis conducted by the library, Wikipedia “does not have enough detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country.” Around 50,000 books and documents have been collected in order to portray Russia “objectively and accurately”. However, this move comes at a time when Kremlin control of the web is increasing, with laws being passed in August that force bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to register their sites with the mass media regulator. Also, websites that criticise or oppose the Putin administration were blocked in March.

Anonabox, the plug-in internet router that is supposedly capable of making your internet activity anonymous by running Tor software, has returned. After being pulled down from a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign due to controversy surrounding the device’s “custom” hardware, the developers of Anonabox are once again trying to raise money for the project through Indiegogo – another crowd-funding website.

In an effort to combat the piracy of copyrighted material, Disney has filed for and won a patent that will help filter out stolen content from search engine results. This patent is described as being an “online content ranking system based on authenticity metric values for Web elements.” What Disney is really after is authenticity of results – results that are based on whether or not a site has a legitimate claim to the content shown, rather than popularity.

Google has recently confirmed that Planetary Ventures, one of the internet search giant’s off-shoots, will take over the management of Moffett Federal Airfield in California. Whist Google has not yet explained exactly what the site will be used for, a NASA press release has stated that the site will be used for “research, development, assembly and testing areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies”. This deal will yield NASA a hefty pay check, with £731million being paid by Google in rent over the course of the 60-year lease period.

On Friday 14th November, Facebook began rolling out a series of updates that allow users greater abilities to tweak what they see on their News Feeds. A new News Feed settings menu was released on the day, and further options that will allow users greater levels of customisation will follow over the coming weeks. The new menu, which appears on the Facebook app and on the web, displays which friends appear the most, as well as friends you’ve chosen to unfollow. You can now also select to see less from a certain user, as opposed to unfollowing them all together. This update comes as part of an effort to provide users with more relevant stories on their news feeds.

Author: Simon Davis

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