Bubble Messaging – The Newest Addition to Facebook’s Feature-Rich Inventory

Image Courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/
Image Courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/

When you can’t acquire someone, you can just imitate it and present something close to it as your own. Well, it is what Facebook apparently aiming for, after failing to acquire SnapChat in 2013.

It is now official that Facebook is experimenting with its own ephemeral, aka bubble, messaging feature, and the first one that will be bestowed upon by this new feature is France. Hourra to you, France!

The feature is available in both Andoird and iOS, and works pretty much like SnapChat. The messages will be gone, vanish, poof after 60 minutes, which I believe is enough to convey any sensitive information without worrying about anyone spying on it later.

In an official statement to NBC News, Facebook shared “Starting today, we’re conducting a small test in France of a feature that allows people to send messages that disappear an hour after they’re sent.” “Disappearing messages gives people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger”, the company added.

The bubble messaging feature can be activated via tapping the glass-hour icon on the upper tab, before sending the message. The feature can be activated or deactivated by anyone in the chat group.

For Facebook, it’s a pretty bold yet highly decisive step. It is because if the feature gets the traction that FB is desperately expecting, it’d bring the company head to head with SnapChat that rules dominantly in the realm of ephemeral messaging.

In fact, since the last time SnapChat declined Facebook’s $3 Billion takeover offer, it has gained a gigantic amount of users, with 200 million monthly users.

Regardless, the testing is still on-going in France these days, and hopefully the feature will be rolled out in the coming months or so.

8 Apple Products You Probably Never Heard Of

Apple is the world’s most renowned brand that has ever existed, especially in the tech market. In fact, when we say smartphone, the very first product that comes to mind is its flagship product, iPhone, or iPad if we are talking about tablet PCs.

Surprisingly, there are some limited edition products that although spitted out by the same brand, but has never skyrocketed the popularity chart as Apple’s current products.

Lo and behold, the 8 rare products by Apple that failed to make any impact on the market, or at least on any consumers’ mind.

  1. Apple II Game Tapes
Image Courtesy of: TechCrunch
Image Courtesy of: TechCrunch

Before floppy drives become a thing – yes, way back then – Apple creatively used cassettes to run their applications. Amazingly, back then you could even find a couple of great games in those cassettes as well such as Star Wars.

  1. Wall Hanging
Image Courtesy of: Fluidesign.co.uk
Image Courtesy of: Fluidesign.co.uk

Apple once collaborated with a famous artist Myra Burg and produced 25 limited-edition rainbow wall hangings. Since it was designed by Burg and had Apple’s logo on it, the wall hanging was sold for around $350. Of course, Steve Jobs took one as well.

  1. Apple’s Apparels
Image Courtesy of: thetrad.blogspot.com
Image Courtesy of: thetrad.blogspot.com

Though quite unexpected, but yes Apple did try to enter the fashion line with its own, branded apparels.

  1. Apple’s Home Accessories
Image Courtesy of: Imgur/rickh3255
Image Courtesy of: Imgur/rickh3255

Wall hangings and apparels were not the only odd products that Apple churned out way back then. Its collection also had, branded household accessories like mugs, towels, etc.

  1. Apple Printers
Image Courtesy of: Stromber/commons.wikimedia.org
Image Courtesy of: Stromber/commons.wikimedia.org

Printers were among those rare gadgets as well that Apple tried to make popular, but ended up failing in that endeavor as well.

  1. Macintosh TV
Image courtesy of: mactrast.com
Image courtesy of: mactrast.com

Apple TVs were not what they seem like today. In fact, they were big like the old TV set and would come with a dual feature, i.e., as a Monitor TV. With only 10K units churned out back then, the product terribly failed.

  1. Apple Pippin
Image courtesy of: Evan-Amos/common.wikimedia.org
Image courtesy of: Evan-Amos/common.wikimedia.org

Apple is now indeed a giant in tech industry but back then it wasn’t. Still, it tried to dip its hands into every market, and gaming consoles aren’t exceptional. However with just 40K units produced, the Apple gaming console, Pippin, ended up getting shut down.

  1. Apple QuickTake
image courtesy of: Jared C. Benedict
image courtesy of: Jared C. Benedict

Apple once tried to taste the camera industry as well. The camera came with Apple’s logo on it but built by Fijifilm and Kodak. As usual, the product also left the shelf quite early.

Tesla Model S is Going to Let You Experience the Joy of Driving Auto-Pilot Cars

Few months back Tesla unveiled that it is soon going to integrate a new technology into its cars, i.e., Autopilot. Yes, soon we are going to experience the enormous joy of driving self-driven cars that would need little to no attention from the driver, and thus make the entire journey hassle-free.

Long ago, self-driving cars was just a far-fetched dream. However, with the current advancements it is now possible to dip our feet into this uncharted ocean and experience what it feels like to drive an autopilot vehicle.

That being said, the current autopilot technology isn’t fully matured yet, though it will be, soon. In fact, Tesla, the Billionaire, Entrepreneur, Engineer and Inventor, advised himself that right now the self-driving cars should be used on the highways, not the streets. It is because the autopilot feature integrated into Tesla Model S system isn’t fully efficient enough to distinguish between stop lights, and such.

Regardless, driving an autopilot vehicle is itself a miracle which is first experienced by the team at TechCrunch. Recently, TC was given the first ride to its Model S and the reviews given by the rep was something.

Tesla Model S is loaded with four main equipments that power its autopilot feature: 12 long-ranged ultrasonic sensors that can sense anything within 16 feet of the car, forward radar that allows the car to see clearly ahead even in unfair weather condition like rain and fog, a forward-facing camera that acknowledges speed limits, and an efficient braking system that is digitally maneuvered.

The autopilot system in Tesla Model S is so amazing and efficient that it can do parallel parking with almost zero percent error.

Coming back to the test ride video, it shows the TC’s rep having a smooth driving experience. The car gracefully maintains the speed, and keeps the car on the lane. Seeing that the autopilot isn’t fully matured yet, the driver has to interact with the street every few minutes or seconds. In other words, you can’t just lay back and relax while the car drives you to the desired destination.

The autopilot system comes with both Model S and Xs however with the one-time fee of $2, 500 for activation.

The Cat is Out of the Bag – Facebook Finally Unveils Its “Dislike” Button

Facebook “Dislike” button is perhaps the most awaited feature of the decade. Luckily, the never-ending wait is finally over as the dislike book has been finally revealed a few days ago.

However, it is not like the usual dislike button some users would expect, unless they have been closely following the updates. To add more engagement to conversations and, perhaps, more transparency to users’ reactions to a post, Facebook has integrated into emoji-based buttons that it calls “reactions”. The feature is added to its “Like” button and can be accessed upon hovering over it or pressing it (for mobile app).

To those who have been eagerly following the updates on the “dislike-button”, expected that something like this would happen. After all, Mark Zuckerberg gave a hint on September that the button wouldn’t be a simple “hands-down”. Zuckerberg stated while talking to Venture Beat that since “Like-button” isn’t a suitable response to posts on war, crime or death, a simple dislike isn’t different than that. Hence, it would clearly be more vulnerable to abuse.

Since Facebook always strive to improve users’ interaction experience, emoji-based buttons would suit more to users’ liking. With the new feature, users can clearly express whether they find the post amusing, sad or unpleasant. For now, Facebook has introduced only six emoticons to the Like button yet such as Love, Sad, or angry. Whether more emoticons will be added to the list or not, who knows!

The sad thing about the new feature, or more like an extension, is that it isn’t available to all the billions of Facebook users. Reactions, the emoticons, has been opened to only the users of Spain and Ireland, and the feature will more likely be tweaked and improved based on the users’ response.

‘Minority Report’, New TV Series Predicts the Technology the Future Will Hold

If you haven’t heard it yet, Minority Report has been turned to a TV series with its pilot episode aired on Sep. 21, 2015. Soon after its movie version was released in 2002, we saw a rapid surge in technological wonders say like touch or gesture technology, smartphones, tablet PCs with iPad being the first, and so on.

Similarly, the new Minority Report TV series has said to be unveiling some of the incredible technologies that according to Greg Borenstein’s vision the next 50 years will produce. Borenstein is a Media Lab graduate at MIT whom the TV producer approached to – just like Steven Spielberg did when he reached to MIT researcher John Underkoffler – to get the idea of conceptual technologies of the future.

So, let’s see what sort of future technologies Mr. Borenstein has envisioned:

  • The reincarnation of extinct species with DNA sequencing. Envisioning extinct species brought back to life isn’t a new concept as it is already being researched for quite many years. Still, it is one of the most anticipated technologies that every scientist is looking forward to.
  • Emotionally customized ads will be taken to the next level. Ads that are bespoken based on emotions are part of today’s marketing campaigns worldwide. However, Borenstein believes that in the few years, this bespoke advertisement will see its next phase when the advertisements will be modified to specific consumers.
  • Mass-scaling of contact-lenses cameras for law enforcers. Cameras have become a necessity for the law enforcers to record the true moments of every situation they go through throughout the day take for instance the dashboard camera in a police car. Borenstein predicts that soon these cameras will be embedded into contact-lenses for better convenience plus efficiency.
  • Skype communication will take an evolutionary step in the form of 3D or holographic communication. It is true that people are tired of video conferencing using flat screens, and now they want more. Seeing that need of the people today, it is not long that Skype conversations will be held using 3D or holographic technology.
  • Augmented reality technology will be used to recreate crime scenes. What could help our society better than figuring out the crimes right on the spot and bring justice to everyone’s life.
  • Autopilot cars will be the norm, and mind-controlling will take its first step. Google has already taken the first step to producing autopilot cars, and soon we will see such cars all around us. However, mind-controlling different species is something quite far-fetched, but not impossible.

Google’s Project Jacquard, Turn Your Clothing to Interactive Technology

After churning out the incredible marvels of technology like interactive eyewears, autopilot cars and whatnot, Google is now going to manufacture world’s first electronic textile, aka E-textile.

At a developer’s conference held in May, Google unveiled its new, ground-breaking technological wonder, The Project Jacquard which was named after the 19th century loom. The project’s core innovation revolves around its “conductive yarn” that is so strong and robust that it can be woven on any industrial loom.

The amazing thing about the jacquard yarn is that it is totally indistinguishable in that it can blend perfectly well with any synthetic and natural fiber say silk, cotton and polyester that it’d look like “just a normal yarn”, says the textile development and project lead, Shiho Fukuhara in an introductory video.

A thin metallic alloy will be at the core of clothe around which the regular fiber would be braided. The thread will be connected to the chip – with a size of a button – that would react to touch and gesture interactivity. With the gesture control, one can monitor heart-rate, interactive with a mobile app, and do whole lot of other cool things.

Designers and developers will be able to create customized gestures and touch interactivity using the conductive yarn. Moreover, sensor grids will be placed throughout the fabric to create a large interactive surface so that user can interact with the technology from anywhere on the fabric.

When the users interact with the fabric, data would wirelessly be transmitted to their connected device, be it their smartphones, laptops, tablets, or any other smart gadget for that matter.

Ultimately, the gesture interactivity on the e-textiles will be used to easily access the functions of any device and use however the way the use would want for instance listening to songs, answering calls, skimming contact’s list, or any other cool feature designers will come up with when the technology is out in the market ready for mass-scaling.

Image Courtesy of: https://www.google.com/atap/project-jacquard/

Moto 360 – Motorola’s New Smartwatch That Can Be Paired With An iPhone

“Smart” technology has churned out many amazing gadgets for the tech savvies over the years that they could even count. One such innovation that has marked the advent of wearable technologies is the Smartwatch.

Though the wearable tech industry is brimming with smartwatches, one smartwatch that we are going to talk about today is the Motorola’s Moto 360. Spoiler Alert: the best part about Moto 360 is that you don’t need to own an android phone to pair the device because you can do it with your iPhones as well.

Now that the spoiler has been revealed, let’s take a closer look at what this incredible smartwatch has to offer:

The Aesthetics

Motorola seems surely confident about what the consumers want beside a smart-technology. Unlike the Apple watch, Moto 360 comes in aesthetically beautiful styles that exude the look and feel of a swanky accessory. After all, you wouldn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a watch that fails to add any style or splendor to your ensemble. Or, would you?

Customizable Design

Another incredible feature of Moto 360 is that you can customize it the way you like. Want your smartwatch with a black leather strap and white bezel? Or, perhaps you would want golden straps with a line-carved bezel…? Best of all, unlike other smartwatches available in the market, Moto 360 offers a separate model exclusively for ladies. The way you customize the smartwatch would decide the final tag price which may start from $299 and go all the way up to $450.

Moto 360 with Android

The smartwatch is powered by Android. That means you can easily connect the device with your Android smartphone and unlock the many features the smartphone encompass. As soon as the device is paired a self-explanatory tutorial helps the users get their head around the basic settings and usage of the watch. The smartwatch can access the Wifi and connect the users with their phone’s contact even if they don’t have the phone with them. Users can also send and receive texts, access map and do much, much more.

Moto 360 with iPhone

As exciting as it may sound, you can’t enjoy all the features of the smartwatch when connected with your iPhone as you would with an Android phone. You can’t access maps, can’t sent texts or start any app. However, you can change songs, check notifications from Whatsapp or Twitter, weather updates, and check your heart rate with Moto Health App.

All things considered, the smartwatch does come with some appealing styles and features which can best be enjoyed with an android phone.

Image Courtesy: Techradar.com

The Future of Human and Machine Conversation

We are growing and evolving with every passing day or year. However, this evolution is certainly not limited to cognitive skills, social interactions, and early intellectual maturity that we see in children of this era.

The biggest evolution that has brought a complete change to our lives, and most importantly our personality, is the unhindered expansion of technology. And, to the extent that we are now even talking to “it”!

Yes, if we want to go to a restaurant in our locality but don’t know where it is located, we just ask our smartphone, Siri, Cortana, or any other virtual assistant you name it. Let me remind you, we ask and not type on any in-app search box. Maybe it’s just we being lazy or simply a benefit of technological advancement that has added a greater level of convenience to our lives.

Whatever the case is, now we are talking to our technology to get things done fast. Best part is that we, or others passing us by on streets or sitting behind us in a restaurant, don’t find it weird not even in the least.

But there’s an annoyance that comes with this technology…

When it comes to using microphones on our hand-free sets or the virtual assistants like Siri or Cortana, we’ve to bring the device closer to our mouth and speak in a very clear voice to let the other human or machine understand us. You may even find yourself screaming in the hallway or down the street if you’re using Bluetooth headsets.

Still, these technologies seem to be improving. Microphones are now coming with a wide range so that you don’t need to shout out loud to put your message across to the recipient. Likewise, you don’t need to yet to your virtual assistant to ask it to open the contacts or call the recipient. One great example is the Apple TV. When a demo of the Apple TV given in a recent keynote, the employees specifically pointing the fact to the users that they don’t have to bring the remote closer to their mouth to execute any command.

Furthermore, there are now high-end Bluetooth air-buds being produced that you can put in your ear and talk in your usual tone.

All in all, technology is sure going to evolve to an extent that the machines will sooner going to comprehend and respond to emotional queues. When this happens, would it be creepy or exciting? You decide.

Google Upping Its Game by Introducing Its Two New Adwords Products: Customer Match and Universal App Campaigns

What’s the most popular Google product that drives millions and billions of revenue to its already brimming treasury? It’s Google Adwords. According to 2015 report, Google generates over US$44.46 billion revenue through its ads marketing alone. Now, the big G is planning to kick its ads business up a notch by introducing two new advertising models: Customer Match and Universal App Campaign.

Starting with the Customer Match ad campaign, this new model will allow advertisers to upload their mailing lists to the Adwords. The Customer Match, as the name suggests, will match the list with the users who are signed-in on Gmail, Google Web Search and Youtube, ultimately showing them the intended advertises.

Take for instance a crockery store that can upload the emails of its customers to the Customer Match campaign. The next time the same customers make any relevant search, they would be shown ads from the crockery store which will then follow the users to their Gmail, Web Search and even on Youtube.

However, targeting the ads to the advertisers’ uploaded email isn’t the only thing this new model would do. Google will also allow the advertisers to use the data from the same mailing lists to find more signed-in users who, however, may not be in the list but have the same profile.

The concept behind this ad business isn’t new, unless you have never tried Facebook ad marketing before. Yes, Facebook has already been using this model for 2 to 3 years.

Another advertising model that Google added to its inventory is the Universal App Campaign, or simply the Android app advertising tool. As you may have guessed by now, this new product targets its ads to app users across Google’s app platforms like Google Play, Search as well as Youtube. However, it has not been cleared yet whether it’d function the same as the Customer Match, i.e., follow the user from his/her Gmail to Google Play or Youtube.

Google’s Soon Going to Equip 400 Indian Train Stations with Free WiFi

India is blessed with the most rapidly growing IT industry in the world. However, even with such an enormous IT industry, it still has a huge population completely deprived of the Internet. In fact, many lower-class Indians don’t even know what internet is and how to use it. Regardless, this is soon going to change with the internet expansion project Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pechai, bringing to his native country, India.

Google unveiled its grand project of making Internet available to every household in India when Indian President, Mr. Mohdi, paid a visit to Google’s HQ in Silicon Valley. The plan is to install WiFis in 400 railway stations in India, with the first few 100 train stations expected to be loaded with WiFi by 2016. Best of all, all the WiFis will initially be made available free of cost to amplify its usage and exposure.

IndiaWifi-kash

However, why the railway stations? Why aren’t any other places chosen as the WiFi hotspots? Well, the reason is very clear- India has one of the busiest train stations in the world. According to a 2011 survey, India has the 4th largest railway network in the world with transporting over 7 billion passengers and 900+ million tons of freight. That’s the big reason why Google chose Indian railway stations for its internet expansion project.

Mr.Pechai further made it very clear in the Google’s official blog, “It will also be fast—many times faster than what most people in India have access to today, allowing travelers to stream a high definition video while they’re waiting, research their destination, or download some videos, a book or a new game for the journey ahead.”

However, don’t confuse this project with a humanitarian work since it doesn’t appear to be. Google revealed this grand project soon after Microsoft unveiled its cheap broadband plan that is said to cover 500, 000 Indian villagers. Needless to say, Facebook is also amongst the contenders trying to mark their territories by providing grand-level internet-expansion projects.

Image Source: Google Official Blog

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