The UX Factor


Why Great User Experience Matters More Than Ever

As part of a new set of best practices, Google will start factoring user experience into its search results, as well as the top stories feature in mobile search, Fast Company reports. The new ranking factor will combine quantifiable metrics—including speed, responsiveness, and visual stability—with other criteria like mobile friendliness, safe browsing, https, and no intrusive pop-up windows.


Zuckerberg and His Employees Face Off

On Tuesday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg led a tense video call meeting with 25,000 of his employees to address the issue that’s divided his company and the public over the past week: how to handle President Trump’s controversial Facebook posts that some see as a glorification of violence against American protesters. Employees pressed Zuckerberg on his hands-off approach to Trump's posts, reports Recode, which obtained leaked audio of the meeting and transcribed it.


Tech Faces a Reckoning on Race

For the tech industry, the civil rights crisis gripping the nation is also a political litmus test, Protocol reports. Pressure is building on the left to support a range of actions including restricting surveillance technologies like facial recognition and ending contracts with police and immigration agencies.


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Copyright Bots vs. Classical Musicians


As the pandemic has forced classical musicians to shift operations to the internet, they’ve encountered an equally faceless adversary: copyright bots. The Washington Post reports that content identification algorithms dispatched across social media to scan content and detect illegal use of copyrighted recordings are improperly snaring performances of classical music in the public domain. 


Google Tracks Users Even in Incognito Mode, Suit Claims 


Google faces a new lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion over accusations the company profits by using its ad tech to track people across the internet, even when they take steps to mask their browsing, Axios reports. The suit alleges that Google collected the plaintiffs' IP addresses, what sites they visit, and what devices they use, even as they browsed the internet in Chrome's "incognito" mode.


Is Dark Mode Right for You?

Both Apple and Google have made a dark theme an essential part of their UI. But why is this? What are the benefits? Are there pitfalls for designers? Web Designer Depot looks at the top things to consider when designing for dark mode.


Making Sense of Trump's Social Media Order


President Trump’s executive order attempting to change the protections enjoyed by thousands of websites and social media platforms likely won’t achieve its stated goal: fundamentally altering the law that governs how much of the internet works. But, as Vox explains, that doesn't mean it won't have an impact.


The Secret of SpaceX’s Success 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft got all of the splashy headlines for returning humans into space from Florida for the first time since the space shuttle’s retirement nine years ago. But the key to the rise of SpaceX over the last decade is undoubtedly the Falcon 9 rocket, reports Ars Technica. The booster has etched a number of superlative firsts, from vertical landing and subsequent reuse, to flying into orbit with a record nine first-stage engines.


Feds Nab a Member of the Fin7 Hacking Group

Authorities recently arrested an alleged member of the prolific hacking group known as Fin7, whose victims include Chipotle and other fast-food restaurants, casinos, and credit unions, according to newly unsealed court records reported by Vice. Fin7 has pulled in an estimated billion dollars of illicit revenue, and even created fake penetration testing companies to give its operations an air of legitimacy.


Fog of War … Against Viruses


A dry fog that kills airborne viruses including Covid-19 might sound like a sci-fi movie invention, but a product developed and patented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has made the idea possible, Government Tech reports. Paerosol is neither a poison nor a chemical. An electric current is run through a salt-water solution, creating an oxidant. From there, the fluid transforms into a fog with a machine called a micro aerosol generator.