Hello there valued reader. Hope you’re well. There is so much stuff happening in the digital space that it’s hard to keep it all together. That’s OK. There is no way to stay on top of every development, every story, and every opportunity. But we can try. So I’m introducing a weekly news roundup of important subjects happening and being discussed. If you read one thing each week, make it this. I promise that it will be to the point and I will only share things that I have found valuable. No fluff, just shit you need to know.
Here we go:
Is it Time to End “Trending” on Social Networks?
Automated trending boxes on social networks – do they add value to users or just give amplitude to noise? Here’s a recap of how trending is defined across different social networks and how its fully-automized mechanism is can be easily manipulated by two of the most nefarious groups out there, Russians and tweens.
Since the system can be gamed, is it a true indicator of what is popular right now? Brian Feldman says no. However, I do like the idea of blocking Justin Bieber from trending on Twitter.
Glossier gets Glossier
E-commerce is bumping, and D2C beauty maven Glossier is the latest proof raising a round of $52 million. Don’t know Glossier? They launch products every 6 weeks, boast a ridiculously strong customer service team, and spend little to no money on media. No wonder investors want in.
Beauty in general is benefitting from the visual world of the web, influencers hawking looks, YouTubers explaining techniques, and this is enabling digital actors to open phyical showrooms that could make Apple blush.
Google’s Clip Camera Brings AI to Capture Your Life
A camera that you clip to your clothes that automatically captures GIFs and images depending on what it determines to be important for you? The future? Not anymore.
Google’s Clip camera uses artificial intelligence to save clips for you. While it is obviously super creepy to have a camera recording everything you do, Farhad Manjoo points out that in his experience the Clip captured moments that he would not have filmed himself, moments that would have been lost forever.
Sure, the images aren’t what you’d put on your Instagram feed, but in a way it is a more intimate look into the moments that make up our lives. Wild.
Self-driving Cars Get Green Light in California
So far self-driving cars have been allowed on roads only if there is a driver sitting behind the wheel just in case. As of April 2nd, California will allow self-driving cars access to test systems on real roads – with no drivers as a safety back up (albeit with a dedicated communication line to a remote control center).
This might be the biggest step yet towards all of us getting to use self-driving cars whenever we want. If all goes smoothly that might happen quickly. But there is a lot riding on these tests. Even if self-driving cars can clock hundreds of thousands of hours of safe driving, all it will take to derail the efforts in one squashed kid or one accident to give everyone the jitters. That could grind progress to a halt. Which is shame, considering how dangerous people driving is.
US v. Microsoft – Data Laws and You
Mega tech companies operate across the entire world. They run their finances in one country, host data around the world, and have users everywhere else. If one country issues a warrant for data that is stored in another country, what happens? Especially if the company is headquartered in the first country?
Microsoft says that data stored locally needs a local warrant to release. The US says that Microsoft is a US company and so should turn over the data it stores abroad. Who is right?
The Supreme Court will soon tell us their opinion. The decision will have wide-reaching effects considering the size of American tech companies. Will it affect the everyday person? Probably not tomorrow, but it could unleash an avalanche of data law revisions that could change how we interact with technology.