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Six alternative web browsers you should know about

Gigaom

Most people are only familiar with the “big five” web browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. But there are hundreds of other browsers out there.

Most alternative browsers are remade versions of [company]Google[/company] Chrome, [company]Mozilla[/company] Firefox or [company]Microsoft[/company] Internet Explorer. Chrome itself is built on Chromium, an open-source browser project; Firefox is also open-source. That means that any developer can take the code, add or remove some parts of it and release a completely new browser.

Why do that, though? The “big five” browsers are already highly customizable. Chrome and Firefox have particularly large libraries of extensions, but generally, you can tailor most browsers to your particular needs. Nevertheless, a large percentage of users may never have visited the Chrome Web Store or gone into Firefox’s Add-ons section.

Some alternative browsers can provide additional functionality for people who don’t want to bother with installing add-ons or don’t know how…

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You can use your phone to film the police, even if they tell you not to

Gigaom

This should be obvious to anyone living in a free society but, it’s worth repeating: citizens have the right to record the public actions of the police. And while some police officers don’t like this fact, they have no right to stop you.

The issue came up again this week in riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri where police reportedly told a crowd of protesters to turn off their cameras following a volley of tear gas and rubber bullets. If this account is true, the police are simply wrong: protesters have the right to film the police.

This is the position of  liberal and conservative scholars, and of appeals courts throughout the United States. As scholar and blogger Eugene Volokh explains of a 2011 First Circuit decision:

Just as the right to speak can be unconstitutionally burdened by restrictions on spending money to speak, or associating in order to speak, it can also be unconstitutionally burdened by restrictions on the gathering of information that…

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Crowd-powered journalism becomes crucial when traditional media is unwilling or unable

Gigaom

Amid all the trolling and celebrity hoo-ha that takes place on Twitter (s twtr) and other social-media platforms, occasionally there are events that remind us just how transformative a real-time, crowdsourced information platform can be, and the violent response by local police to civil protests in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday is a great example. Just as the world was able to see the impact of riots in Tahrir Square in Egypt during the Arab Spring, or military action against civilians in Ukraine, so Twitter provided a gripping window into the events in Ferguson as they were occurring, like a citizen-powered version of CNN.

The unrest began after police shot and killed an unarmed black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, in the middle of the afternoon, after what some reported was a scuffle of some kind. Mourners gathered, and so did those protesting what they saw as police racism, and there…

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Little known fact – there are alternatives to Google Maps

Gigaom

When developers need to add maps or geospatial functions to their web or mobile applications, the first instinct might be to turn to Google to provide these functions. Google’s seemingly flexible terms, pricing, ease of integration make this seem like the obvious choice.

But as Google’s interests expand into automotive, travel, ride-sharing and other lines of business, companies that rely on Google Maps are finding that Google’s terms and conditions begin to limit what they can do with their technology. Google is in the advertising business. That can create conflicts when another company starts to use Google Maps. Maps are the canvas that Google uses to promote sponsored local listings. Have you ever wondered why 7-Eleven shows up on a map when you search for “gas”? It has more to do with their advertising spend than with customer convenience.

For over 15 years, Silicon Valley based deCarta, Inc. has offered…

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If you’re a media company, your mobile competition isn’t other news entities, it’s Google Now

Gigaom

At conferences — and in editorial meetings, when a visionary speech from management is required — media companies like to talk about how the future of news is mobile. And some media outlets are even putting their money where their mouth is, by releasing apps like NYT Now. But for many, it’s still a struggle just to get their websites to render properly on a mobile device, and their apps are unloved orphans standing alone in a field, carrying bad reproductions of the print version.

Meanwhile, [company]Google’s[/company] information delivery features get stronger and stronger, and the amount it knows about the intended audience for that information grows larger. It’s like the web and Google News all over again, only worse.

For every innovative news app like Circa, which takes in all the news about a given event and creates brief updates that readers can “follow,” there are dozens of…

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