Good Monday morning. It’s June 15th. Friday is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Adobe, Nike, and Twitter are among the companies that have added Juneteenth to their permanent holiday calendars.
Today’s Spotlight is 1,235 words, about a 4 1/2 minute read.
1. News to Know Now
a. Twitter is testing a prompt for users who retweet a link that they didn’t open on Twitter in a bid to cut down on news being amplified based only on the headline.
b. Food delivery service Grubhub, whose aggressive tactics we’ve written about before, spurned an offer from Uber and will be acquired by European service Just Eat in a stock swap worth more than $7 billion. Just Eat handled 122 million orders in the UK in 2018 and also has a significant presence in Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Grubhub holds 22% of U.S. food delivery market share behind industry leader DoorDash and Uber. Coverage at TechCrunch and data at Statista.
c. Google Meet is adding noise cancellation as it looks to gain share in the growing video conference market. The new software removes sounds like ringing telephones, clicking pens, dog barks, and rustling papers.
2. COVID-19 Online Resources and News
Johns Hopkins — the gold standard
Florida data — Unofficial, but the best I’ve seen for any state.
New York Times Vaccine Tracker — meticulously sourced
Info is Beautiful COVID datapack –> this data viz site gets it right
3M sues Amazon storefront that allegedly sold fake N95 masks for $23 –> at The Verge
Internet Archive Will End Its Program for Free E-Books –> at The New York Times
Smart factories fall prey to hackers during remote work –> at Nikkei Asian Review
Why did the “Flatten the Curve” chart work so well? –> at Mother Jones
3. Search News & Google Maps Accessibility Data
Google is continuing its all-out war against showing users the full URL of a site in search results. The newest test version of Chrome 85 includes two ways for Google to do this. Quoting Android Police’s coverage: ” .. the company has said in the past that it believes showing the full address can make it harder to tell if the current site is legitimate.”
Google also warned website managers not to create their own sitemaps manually. In this case, a company was wrangling 37 spreadsheets of 50,000 URLs each for a site with two million URLs. Your SEO agency should be able to easily work with any developer to provide a Google-approved solution.
Google followed Facebook this week and announced that they are removing the technical capability for advertisers to restrict employment, housing, or credit ads based on categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability. Advertising that way is illegal in many cases, but was technically possible. Facebook recently sealed that technical capability and Google will have the same technical block in place by the end of the year.
Google Maps accessibility information is a new feature that allows users to see wheelchair accessible locations. Engineer Sasha Blair-Goldenshohn who uses a wheelchair recounts, “Imagine making plans to go somewhere new, taking the journey to get there and arriving — only to be stuck outside, prevented from sitting with family or being unable to access the restroom.”
Your search marketers can create the appropriate codes so that Google Maps accessibility displays are updated with parking, restrooms, and entrance information. Here’s the demo.
4. Also in the Spotlight — Police Apps Get Popular
Using an app to listen to local emergency transmissions is as simple as a few clicks at your device’s app store. Many are free.
The president recently posted a conspiracy theory that alleged these apps would allow “agitators” to scan and block police communications, which is false and was originally posted on a private blog, amplified by conservative media, and then tweeted by the president.
The apps function just like an emergency weather radio or the police scanner your grandpa bought at Radio Shack for $49. Now they’re free or cost only a few dollars and are downloaded by millions of people.
5. Following Up: Facial Recognition & Open AI
Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have all agreed to halt sales of facial recognition technology to US police departments because of race biases in the algorithms that we’ve written about before. IBM specifically notified Congress of its intent to stop R&D and sales of existing technology. Amazon, which deals with more than 1,300 police departments, issued a one year sales moratorium. Microsoft has called for human rights provisions in any legislation Congress considers, according to reporting from CNN.
We also told you about Open AI and their advanced text generator. The organization did not release their software last year because they said it was too advanced. It was reverse-engineered anyway and now the organization is looking for corporate customers to buy the new version, according to Wired. The research institute was founded five years ago by Elon Musk, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, and others who pledged a total of $1 billion.
6. Debugging: You Still Need to Wear a Mask
An old interview where public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci eschewed the use of face masks for the general public is being recirculated and falsely positioned as new.
Fauci agrees with current CDC guidance that masks are necessary in addition to social distancing. There are no circumstances where masks are unnecessary unless you are alone or only with and around people you live with.
7. ProTip: Delete Old Tweets without Canceling
We’ve shown you how to selectively delete Facebook posts in bulk. As part of your social media cleanup, you might also want to look at your Twitter activity. There is no official bulk delete tool so Lifehacker’s Abu Zafar shows you how to use third party tools to handle the job.
8. Great Data: Using only black and white
Data scientist Mike Cisenros writes that he was taught as a beginning designer to create sketches and layouts in black and white. The philosophy was that a strong black and white design is even stronger with color.
In his monthly challenge, he asks readers to present their best in black and white, but I want all of you–even the non designers and data viz people–to look at the story telling his three examples creates from the boring dataset in history.
Screening Room: Viola Davis Is Worth It
10. Coffee Break: Orb Farm
Times are chaotic. Family members, colleagues, strangers I’ve met in meetings tell me that they are overwhelmed. I understand and want to recommend Orb Farm to you for some mindless clicking.
You control a little orb in which you can add fish, algae, water, stone, wood, and more. Play it right in your browser, watch the critters a while, and stop when you’re ready. Everything gets saved automatically and is there when you’re ready for some more down time.
Here are three ways that we can help you:
1. Get a free SEO audit on our website.
2. Have a simple, fact-based question about digital marketing? Reply & ask George for free.
3. If your organization needs help with website maintenance, search, social media, or advertising, have a look at what we do.
See you next week. Don’t forget to update your Google Maps accessibility information!