Thursday, May 26, 2022

Hashtag Trending- Google accidentally mixes Photos storage; deep fake detection tool; fake traffic jam

If you’ve used the Google Takeout service late last year, you may want to check if you’ve downloaded other people’s selfies. Speaking of pictures, a new tool has been created to spot doctored photos. In other news, a performance artist pulled a fast one on Google Maps by creating a fake traffic jam.

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Thank you for tuning into Hashtag Trending, it’s Wednesday, February 5th, and I’m your host, Tom Li

Trending on Reddit, Google has disclosed an issue that may have intermingled different Google Photos storages. Between November 21 and November 25, users who downloaded their data through Google Takeout, a service that consolidated all the information Google kept for a Google account, may have downloaded pictures or videos belonging to another account. The issue has been promptly fixed, of course, but Google has been vague about its origin, only stating that it’s a technical issue. Google told tech publication 9to5 Google that only 0.01 per cent of users have been affected, but considering the expansive android userbase, that number is still significant.

Trending on Google, a new tool has been released to spot deep fake images. The tool, primarily geared towards journalists, was developed by researchers at Jigsaw, a technology company owned by Alphabet. The tool is called Assembler, and is being tested with a dozen news organizations around the world. Given the increasingly sophisticated AI image alteration techniques, it’s becoming intensely difficult for humans to discern the validity of an image. The tool is still under testing, and you can read about its different detection methods on Jigsaw’s website.

Trending on Reddit, a performance artist created a fake traffic jam by carting along 99 smartphones though a street in Germany. Simon Weckert, an artist based in Berlin, created the spectacle to direct attention to how ingrained technology is in our daily lives. By moving the smartphones at a snail’s pace, Weckert tricked Google Maps into thinking that there’s major congestion and directed traffic around the empty street. The performance also highlighted how easily such a sophisticated service can be manipulated.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Tom Li, thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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