Timeline Blog

Canvy Team, apps, communications, WhatsApp, Snapchat, file sharing

When apps redefine communications – Canvy Team latest news recap

Although the modern communications market is still fragmented, the main communication channels and apps “own” certain features. Meaning that, even if successful features tend to spread via imitation or innovative answers within different apps, the audience tends to keep associating them with the brands that introduced or perfected them.

Some may wonder what else is new in digital communications. Well, the main established players in this market have found out once again that it’s the details that matter. Intuitive UI, friendly logos, tiny features that hold the potential of great impact may all be essential at the end of the day, as seasoning is for a great dish.

 

A successful app now allows sending any type of file

Loyal users everywhere are thrilled – and for a good reason. WhatsApp experiments these days with a feature that allows users to send other files than photos. The accepted files may be as large as 128 MB for iOS, 100 MB for Android and 64 MB for a Web client.

This new feature illustrates the way modern communications widen their range – why go out of the app, in order to send specific files via a different channel?

Well, the question above is not just rhetorical. We already have some critical voices that warn of the potential risks in this new WhatsApp capability. Some files may be malicious, or may carry items that in fact are not legally share-able. In other words, it seems that the difficulty of file-sharing in our day and age is not random. There are important cyber-security considerations involved, as well as legal considerations.

But why spoil the WhatsApp experiment by contemplating the difficulties involved? Most likely, if this feature proves successful, the company will mitigate the risks.

 

Tracking people on the map – a superpower of yet another communication app

No need to hold your breath or start guessing – we are talking about Snapchat. The instant fun, amazingly simple app now allows friends to see each other’s location. This new tool is bound to change the rules of the game a bit – since it basically introduces a tracking feature. See here more on this topic.

As we may see by looking at the bigger picture, both of these recent pieces of news illustrate how the communications apps compete for the fragmented market we mentioned above. Yet the more attractive these new features are, the riskier they might be – in turn.

What is your opinion on this attractiveness vs. privacy topic? Did you have any incidents involving modern communications risks? Are you concerned about the implications of sharing sensitive files via certain communications channels or not?

Let’s remember…

…how there is an intended line between work/office communications and private messaging. Yet the obsolete look and features of some work-destined communication channels results in employees doubling the way they communicate among themselves by employing the mainstream, private-targeted apps. Therefore, the idea that your staff is using more secure channels in order to communicate work-related details might just prove a utopia. These tools are all efficiency-dependent. When they fail to meet the users’ expectancy in terms of speed, responsiveness and friendliness, they end up being rapidly replaced by the next app in line.

Finally, although it may sound like an old Hallmark card, modern communications, in fact, are all about sharing and receiving. Without letting some of your digital persona be seen, these virtual communities would be an extremely boring place. The communications landscape is made out of the few from the many, combined with the more from its “stars” – people who enjoy the spotlight and have found the answer to their dreams in the way modern people communicate – text, photos, file-sharing and all.

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Who else is redesigning their communication app? – Canvy Team -selected tech news

Hello to all our readers! While browsing through last week’s notable news, we decided to see the details of a couple of MFST announcements. One of them in particular is of interest for us at this moment – and we will unveil our main reason later on in this post.

Microsoft and its spotlight news – hardware

First, let’s take a look at a couple of hardware news.

The company managed to keep their audience engaged last week, with its new lineup of Surface devices. You may see here a 60 second cut of a new dedicated ad. Not every rumor about these devices is positive, though: Forbes highlights the unpleasant “lack of repairability” characterizing the 2017 Surface Pro laptop, designed in a way that mimics Apple technology – in what the repairing is concerned.

Yet another MFST innovation is the Microsoft Modern Keyboard, featuring a hidden fingerprint sensor. Aiming to make passwords a thing of the past – at least for the users which enjoy biometric authentication, this new keyboard looks and feels a bit MacBook – like, as Daily Mail puts it.

Microsoft recent news – software

It seems we’ve entered a summer for significant updates, upgrades and for refreshing the look of certain applications – a thing we are most interested about.

Pix, the Microsoft camera app on iOS camera app, just took the idea of photo embellishing to a new level (new for Pix, customary for third-party apps that revolved around filters, photo enhancements and style filters – think the Prisma photo editing app, for example).

And last, yet not least, Skype will undergo a major redesign. The company unveiled the new look earlier this month, and we can see how they are going from the specific look towards one more in tone with the appearance of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Snapchat. Is this how the desire to blend in looks like? Or is it that a certain visual aspect of what the communication apps are concerned proved to be the winning formula?

Going from cute to complex and discrete – this is how this move is perceived by some. True as it might be that we go on certain networks to reconnect with friends and discover groups based on interests, common activities or shared values – as adults we all spend a lot of time engaged in professional activities. A certain “attire” slowly works its way into the visual elements we are most attracted to – a nuance of seriousness gains momentum. In other words, although the fun and bright design lures people towards an app, classy visuals do win in the long run.

What do you think about the way certain apps modifies their look or logo? As you may have noticed on Facebook, here at Canvy we are in the process of implementing a major upgrade, looks included. Stay tuned to find out exactly when, and in the meantime, let us know your ideas on this subject at marketing@gocanvy.com.

Canvy Team, Cortana, Microsoft, AI, push, rumors, communications

Pushing for human-machine voice interaction, the Microsoft way, reported by the Canvy Team

The future of technology is already here – or at least that’s the message the tech giants convey to their audience with each opportunity they get.

The latest rumors linked to what users are invited, if not pushed to do, by a major company, come from Microsoft.

In the context of the re-released KB3150513 Windows patch, which prepares older system versions for the Windows 10 creators update, it seems that the company has some serious modifications in mind in what their AI assistant, Cortana, is concerned. But bear in mind, this is a report about an unannounced feature update.

 

How Cortana is doing so far

Despite the Microsoft claims that Cortana usage is high, this estimate is a bit over-inflated, since it takes into consideration the feature’s employment by unaware users. This means that Windows search goes through Cortana and is counted as such, although the users don’t intend to use the help of this digital tool.

The overall impression is that users do not enjoy using Cortana instead of the classical computer interaction systems. The attempts to disable it became fewer, once its location was in the system tray – and it did not get in the way as much as when it was in the taskbar.

The recent rumors concern the fact that Microsoft is looking for a way to revamp Cortana and make it “more conversational”, aka to discourage users from ignoring it. With the aforementioned reserve that these rumors may prove to be true – or not, such a move confirms that the voice-activated AI assistant is not doing as expected in terms of usage and popularity.

 

Communication means – a matter of acquired taste?

Each revolutionary moment in communications has had its enthusiasts and its skeptics. The thing is, not all of us are alike – some enjoy voice communications, others thrive when it comes to writing messages or texts. However, with modern tools there is just one main way to go, sometimes. Therefore, those who are more reluctant have to be lured in the new trend via ingenious ways. And that’s where strategy matters.

Take for example the way visual communications, as well as providing relevant information via videos, have made their way into the Internet environment. This medium seemed entertainment-prone at the beginning, yet nowadays it is employed in business communications, large-scale marketing and education. Even those who did not naturally enjoyed it have learned to appreciate its value.

Therefore, the way we communicate may well be an acquired taste. From the traditional audio to the more evolved audio-video we all carry on our devices now, trends and habits have succeeded each other. Not all trends have emerged naturally – and the strategy beneath some has proven extremely complex.

 

Not all innovation is successful, but cleverly designed innovation holds this potential

The matter combines concepts, their materialization, the right moment and a lot of financial considerations. There are ideas that do not meet the needs that emerge from the live momentum – they may experience a glorious comeback later on or become a failure. There are great concepts that poorly materialize, but also under-financed or over-financed ideas.

Cleverly designed concepts are bound to succeed. It is always interesting to see how their road to success looks like, and what strategy comes to the rescue when their audience is reluctant to adopt new habits or new approaches to evergreen things.

Brand-user communication may just fuel the right strategy moves, from details that matter to bigger elements that might just re-shape the user experience.

That being said, the Canvy Team always appreciates your opinions and suggestions – just send them at marketing@gocanvy.com. Let us know what you like the most, what you would want to find out more about and what you think we could improve.

Canvy Team, Alphabet, $ 1000 stocks

Google’s Alphabet move generated a powerful parent company – the $1000 threshold news, summarized by the Canvy Team

Alphabet Inc shares went over $ 1000 for the first time ever. The class A shares pertaining to this company closed at $1,003.88 this Monday, according to Mercury News.

As you may well remember, Google went through a restructuring process, completed in October 2015. After creating Alphabet as a subsidiary, Google itself merged with yet another subsidiary – this time a dummy. This dummy subsidiary belonged to Alphabet, thus the newly-created brand ended up as a parent company for Google. Via a two-step switch, the tech company emerged more powerful from this reorganization process, while choosing a clever move that did not require for the shareholders’ vote.

Well, if any of the important shareholders may have felt threatened by this important change dating almost two years back, this moment of business history surely confirmed the company went the right way.

If curious, you may see here more details on the $1000 mark here. Apparently the Alphabet four-digit stock price comes only a week after Amazon marking the same milestone.

How tech, business and finances merge together for the perfect combination

We are tech people, as well as strategists. While focusing on what we aim to improve via our app, we also find tech success stories interesting and valuable. We keep an eye on what’s trending in relation with the tech giants, and we like to see how startups evolve and gain traction, as well.

Here’s an article on the $ 1000 stock-club and its select membership, dating back to 2013, when Google was just Google. Perhaps you find it interesting to put the values in perspective.

Although the said value of the shares greatly depends on the companies’ refusal to split the shares, the high-value status generates a stability effect, since such trading instruments are out of range for most of the usual investors. Volatility is most likely reduced this way.

While some voices fear bubbles whenever such high stock values are involved, others see this threshold share price as a trophy for the companies that manage to attain it.

Bottom line, in our times technology, business and finances merge together for a promising combination. While some companies represent success stories we may all learn from, others emerge as startups or smaller ventures, yet may hold the potential for great achievements.

Take yet another trip down the (volatile) digital memory lane and check out how investing in tech IPO’s looked like 4 years ago – here.

Canvy Team, news, universal basic income, Zuckerberg

News to watch, by the Canvy Team: Mark Zuckerberg spoke out for the basic income

Perhaps you already read about this – Mark Zuckerberg voiced his support for the universal basic income, during his recent Harvard commencement address.

But what is the universal basic income? It is a form of social security and a concept rooted in historical sociology movements. According to this concept, each citizen should benefit from a regular and unconditional basic income, regardless of whether they work or not. This sum of money should cover the citizen’s basic needs, thus making sure each person is not a burden for society in the eventuality they cannot earn their living.

This leaves the question of who is supposed to provide the necessary funds, and where these money would come from. As in all social security systems, the answer consists in an algorithm combining various forms of taxation – specially aimed at enterprises.

 

Why universal basic income (UBI) – now?

As mentioned above, the universal basic income concept is in fact a social security scheme aiming at redistributing taxation money towards each citizen, in order to ensure a minimum living standard that would prevent major social disruptions due to the classical social security not being able to keep up with the modern society issues.

The moment of this idea’s revival has to do with progress and technology. There is an anticipated social impact associated to next-gen tech. Automation and robotics will take over an impressive number of jobs and occupations, and it seems like the calculations of possible outcomes are not extremely optimistic. There is no telling what will happen with those who will be out of jobs, or with those whose skills will not be needed anymore.

Since the main beneficiaries of the predicted digital revolution are the enterprises, various sociological and political thinkers wonder about acceptable ways of making companies responsible.  In their opinion, businesses should contribute in maintaining the social equilibrium, even when most of their workers would be digital. The people in this scenario would compete for the limited human-targeted jobs left – a competition not anyone would win. The states are worried what would happen in the eventuality that people supporting themselves would become a mathematical impossibility.

Therefore, the fact that the universal basic income is re-discussed now is at least in part motivated by what we expect out of the digital revolution – in terms of social and occupational consequences.

 

Is this concept right or wrong?

Besides being just an idea, proclaimed by individual voices, associations and organizations, the basic income concept crossed into social policy once it became a pilot project in certain states, and it went through a public referendum not long ago.

Finland launched a two-year basic income experiment in January 2017 – here you may find an account on how the project is going, taken 4 months into it. Their take on the concept is a bit different, making the “universal” attribute inapplicable.

Another ongoing project is located in California, via the Silicon Valley – Bloomberg calls the experiment an “unconditional cash transfer” trial, and the main worries apparently are not focused on the money issue, but more on the way this basic income status would affect the human dignity and behavior.

Talking about what people want, or think they want, in Switzerland the basic income concept got rejected via referendum in 2016.

 

Did Zuckerberg manage to raise approval for the basic income idea?

While strongly promoting the idea of a basic income guarantee, Mark Zuckerberg did attract an array of pro, as well as con comments that spread ripples through the online and offline media.

The opinions are split, ranging from “distorted view of the world” belonging to a CEO, through the virulent Washington Times article qualifying the idea as being a “brainless world tax” and ending up with a rather predominant neutral depiction of the already famous Zuckerberg Harvard address.

Surely we will meet the UBI concept in the future, seeing how it comes as an answer to a future global issue, whilst it also managed to catch the attention of important tech leaders.

Cavy Google Assistant AI

Canvy Team question: Did the Google Assistant announcement just stole the thunder at the Google’s big developers’ conference?

The 10th edition of the Google I/O took place this year as usual in San Francisco, CA. The 2017 edition enthralled the participants present in the Shoreline Amphitheatre with quite a few subjects. Subsequently the online media covered these topics and even launched full-on debates on the most intriguing announcements.

Although the news ranged from the Google Home device to the availability of the beta version of the Android “O”, the Google Assistant changes are the ones that went mainstream viral.

But what’s in this piece of news that managed to make it talk of the town?

Google Assistant – the new best friend for marketing professionals, as well as online retailers

You may take a guess now, using our subtitle as a clue…

Yes, you are right. Google will monetize its Assistant “with ads and e-commerce functionalities” – as the publication Android Headlines puts it. The precise statement belongs to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Advertising at Google.

The current debate regards placing this move in the bigger context, where Amazon’s Alexa is already way ahead of Google’s Assistant future version – or so say the specialist, basing their affirmation on the way Alexa manages to integrate into the Amazon shopping-centered ecosystem.

Why should we care?

It’s been a year since Google announced its AI Assistant at the previous I/O. The unveiling integrated the Google Home suite of launches.

An attempt to break down the important tech concepts involved here would look like this:

  • AI (the technology behind Google Assistant, part of the huge machine learning, AI, smart tech trend)
  • The integration of AI into the audience’s everyday habits (IoT-related, bringing technology on the go in as many aspects of our lives as possible)
  • Digital marketing ( another extremely important phenomenon that went from serving businesses to making it clear that companies should integrate it I order to survive)
  • Online shopping (a mass phenomenon that might see the limits of its expansion on geographical markets at some point – perhaps sooner rather than later – and which is looking for innovative ways of reinventing competition and of re-gaining the attention of potential shoppers).

We should care because the changes induced by each of these elements which now belong to our everyday lives have proven to be so far of a much higher impact than officially estimated. Reverberating through businesses, financial markets and all the little yet important things that shape the world around us, all these factors combined are the mixture of our high-end, high-tech future. Therefore, each change announced by the tech giants has the “butterfly effect” and it is indeed an interesting subject to follow.

Why did the Canvy Team find this Google I/O news interesting?

Well, first of all, we are developers. Naturally, our morning news counts tech subjects.

Secondly, we are interested in the way communications and technology shape human society and relationships in general.

Once shopping would be not just a few taps away, but at a couple of voice commands away, with AI Assistants perhaps even suggesting you what you might need or wish to buy – in a functional, almost perfect, competitive manner – it would be intriguing to see all the resulting changes for retailers, app developers, and communication operators, just to name a few.

Well, perhaps we’ve exaggerated – a bit, just for the sake of sharing our enthusiasm in the matter – but you get the picture.

Canvy, Android, OS, smartphones

How about the smartphones? The Canvy Team mashes up a couple of interesting news

Who said technology cannot be fun? Well, it wasn’t us, that’s for sure. While aiming for our Android contact manager app, Canvy, to be complex and reliable, we also took care to wrap it in a fun, colorful UI, with many customizable features.

Sometimes the device producers remember that addictive, fun tech features are critical – but they make debatable choices. It takes courage to add certain unusual features. It also takes some time for the verdict to come in from the audience.

HTC and the Edge Sense feature

The U 11 HTC flagship, coming to USA (via Spring) starting June 2017, introduces (or at least hopes to introduce) a new interactive feature called Edge Sense.

The online media (see The Verge, for example) quickly picked up on the feature, calling it the “squeeze”. What is it about? The users can flex the edges of the smartphone, in order to give certain commands. Pressure sensors in the metal sides transmit the input, while an on-screen cue appears once the feature is activated.

Does it sound like fun? The source we mentioned qualifies it as “a little unsettling at first”, and taking “some time getting used to”. Once the smartphone will reach the users, the actual experience will tell whether this novelty is a fiasco or a success.

Samsung and the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus sales

According to ZDNet, the Korean company stated on Tuesday that 5 million items have been sold.

In only a month, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus proved to be well-received, and became available in 120 countries. The marketing machinery contributed to this success both previous to the launch, as well as during this last month. Carriers enabled hands-on trials for influencers and a lot of virtual ink flew on the exciting new features of these smartphones.

Android – iOS, the (still) ongoing competition

Both the smartphones above come with Android Operating Systems, as you may have – correctly – assumed.

While Android benefits from a growing popularity and from the wider access it has on many devices, the Apple’s proprietary iOS comes locked on the company’s devices. It should be a no-game, yet the cumulative smartphone market share shows a different picture. The Apple iPhone 7 is still the leading smartphone – globally.

As Boy Genius puts it, “the iPhone is still the world’s most popular smartphone”.

However, with the expected boom in the smartphone market in areas where Internet connectivity used to be low/medium, there is also a latent expectancy of more Android smartphones. While Facebook plans to provide free internet in Africa, the Chinese Alibaba contemplates the idea of doing the same in India.

There are a lot of discussions over the effects and hidden implications of such projects – but this is not our main focus here. What do you think is the answer to this question: “The smartphone adoption induced by free internet becoming reality will benefit which type of OS the most?”

We shall leave this question pending. Well, being an Android app, Canvy sure roots for this OS – but that’s between us and you.

quantum computing Canvy Team

Dreaming of quantum smartphones? The Canvy Team checked out the timeline

This article on Inverse caught our attention. Turns out that quantum smartphones are waiting in line for the quantum computer to materialize. That is if they are ever to become a convenience of the future – a thing that some really doubted a few years back.

Spoilers, spoilers… Well, not really, because it would be only logical for any tech aficionado to assume that we are still at a distance from buying quantum smartphones, instead of the regular types we see today.

Here’s a 2012 answer on Quora that explains how miniaturizing quantum technology in order to fit it into a phone is highly unlikely. Although we have seen such arguments in the past of humanity being blown into pieces once certain breakthroughs happened, there is a lot of sense in this argumentation.

 

With the expansion of technology, distribution takes place

We have seen how AR and VR tend to distribute themselves into phone-compatible solutions (AR) and more complicated, device-compatible tech (VR) – see the Canvy Team previous article here.

In a similar manner, quantum technology would supplement existing computers, instead of supplanting them. Due to the fact that the computers of our times already do a very good job in certain areas, quantum computers are to take up other tasks. Inverse sees quantum computers dealing with big data “mass sorting and brute force possibility checking”.

There is no point in employing over-qualified technology for mundane tasks. Although we might be stretching our comparison a bit here, it is just as in human resources. Quantum computing would go into unfathomably complex tasks, as far as traditional computers are concerned.

 

No quantum smartphones doesn’t mean lack of interest in what the quantum technology is concerned

The truly passionate know that having no quantum smartphones at the horizon (not even via cloud solutions) does not mean the quantum technology will remain parallel with the mobile technology of the future.

We are already witnessing the starting effects of bringing AI into marketing and sales, and ultimately into business. AI’s potential depends on quantum computing – handling big data is necessary in order to mimic human thinking processes. Moreover, going beyond human capabilities surely needs the quantum-based power of computation.

What this means is that, although at a hardware level our phones might remain pretty much the same, we will see the effects of quantum computing in an intermediate manner. Processing big data, with quantum-powered AI algorithms, should revolutionize the tech world as we know it. Even more, all that counts on technology, but leads into the business environment should see a boost that might lead to surprising breakthroughs in some cases.

Although there are risks involved – perhaps you’ve also noticed the concerns raised in the Inverse article – this version of our technological future is the most plausible. Quantum computing could support more activities and processes than we imagine, being ubiquitous in a less visible manner.

 

The Canvy Team encourages you to keep in touch with the latest trends in technology

As IT specialists, the tech world is our larger focus, while our main focus remains on what we specifically design and develop.

Staying updated with the emerging technologies is important – on a connected future, success depends on seamless integration and on being one step ahead in the right direction.

Quantum computing might feel unfamiliar for many technical people, because it involves learning some concepts from the start or relearning others. Nevertheless, since there are solid reasons to believe it will form the underneath layer in many tech fields, it comes with the right motivation for getting to know a few details about it.

Here’s a recent update on this subject. We especially enjoyed exploring the IBM Quantum Experience experiments featured on their IBM Q website.

AR augmented reality Canvy wikimedia

Augmented or Virtual Reality? The Canvy Team picks up on this trendy question

Recently, TechCrunch launched a question on what the future holds for smartphones and apps, in regards with enhanced reality. More precisely, they invited their readers to contemplate the possibility of smartphone AR stunting VR’s growth. As we are keeping an eye on smartphone-related technology here at Canvy, we also contemplate this idea, while keeping in touch with the latest related news.

 

How does smartphone AR look like and why is it appealing?

Smartphone AR presumes specially designed apps that allow users to add virtual layers to the reality around them, as reflected on the screens of their phones. Of course, explaining the Augmented Reality concept in this simplified way might seem laughable to all those already familiarized with it.

If nothing else, think of the latest craze that swept the world of its feet – Pokemon Go. Employing AR combined the mobile game with real-life places and landscapes, while sending the players into outside world quests. Even if sometimes the two realities clashed and some people faced various types of dangers, the success of this game managed to put AR back into the spotlight, at times when VR is facing slow growth. Other developers saw the opportunity to launch their Pokemon Go –inspired apps, so the AR trend gained traction.

Virtual Reality desperately needs specially tailored apps, dedicated hardware, seamless integration between them and seems more complicated to orchestrate than AR. (Mind you, “seems” is the key word here, because surely there must be AR software that takes a lot of time and hard work to deliver, just as VR programs do.) However, it is realistic to say that VR is facing (slightly) difficult times.

 

What advantages do push AR in front of VR?

Another important element is that VR, as TechCrunch mentions, is superior to what the smartphones can offer. In fact, the authors say that it will always be superior, but one never knows what the future holds in terms of phone design and capabilities, so we thought of applying here the old saying of “never say never”. So VR requires much more advanced hardware than our current smartphones hold. Therefore, advantage AR…

All things considered (besides those mentioned above, there are also others), AR is fit for smartphones.

  • It is appealing, due to the fact that it restores the user’s relationship with their surroundings;
  • It also enables local experiences, thus attracting marketers;
  • It is visually pleasing, while allowing the user to include it in his/her usual activities;

(Because it is not disruptive in the way VR is, by conditioning the entire experience through the need of complete immersion into the virtual.)

  • Both Google and Apple test (or already built AR solutions) into their products;
  • It has been around for a while and people expect it to bloom in the next-gen series of smartphones.

 

Is it a race we are witnessing or are the two technologies completing each other?

The answer to this question depends on where we stand when addressing it. As we’ve mentioned above, some consider smartphones are destined for AR. Others might design VR applications that go with enhanced mobiles, thus making the two technologies compete on the same devices’ segment.

On the other hand, those investing in VR lead us to believe that, once perfected, the VR technology will be like no other. Therefore, there will be no question of any competition between AR and VR, just because we will witness VR going out of AR’s league, so to say. This remains to be seen. Until then, it seems that throwing VR into investment-related conversations still has a magic effect. Yet there are many who wonder how much until the magic wears off, if the promises that raised so much enthusiasm don’t deliver sometime soon.

The race seems shifty – depending upon elements that the large audience has little access to, if any. Elements laying within the R&D divisions of various companies, ranging from tech giants to small startups. And, of course, the Canvy Team knows all about R&D activities and putting bright ideas into practice.

Perhaps one day, the photos you assign to your Canvy contacts would become AR-enabled images. For now, we provide a visually fun canvas of contacts, bright-colored and organized by your interaction degree with each contact.

 

canvy facebook f8 conference

What do you think about Facebook’s F8 statements? The Canvy Team summarized them for you

Facebook is one of the most important social media platforms, currently engaging 1.86 billion monthly active users. As you all know, it is one of the platforms integrated by Canvy, communications-wise. With our contact manager app Canvy, you can see your contacts’ Facebook account, and you can reach them via this channel, if active and set as preferred.

Therefore Facebook-related news is a matter of tangential interest for us. Recently (aka, on 18-19 April 2017), the company held its (quasi) annual F8 conference. The future plans unveiled this year in San Jose, California, sent ripples all through the tech world. Why is that?

Mind-controlled technology

As he confessed in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg wants to build a next-generation computer platform in which “people are the foundational element.” In view of this, his company uses R&D that should lead to valid prototypes of brain-computer experiences.

A while ago, Zuckerberg referred to AR and VR as appealing extensions of traditional human interactions. Yet Facebook’s Oculus VR venture got hit in 2016-2017 by a lawsuit where the court ruled in favor of their opponent, Zenimax. The $500 million in damages Facebook has to pay dampened a bit Zuckerberg’s VR enthusiasm. Add to this the fact that at the beginning of April 2017 the company is dragged into court via yet another Oculus-related lawsuit, the immediate future of Facebook VR is not looking so good.

However, the plans for brain-computer integration are not suspended, as the F8 discussions revealed. Apparently, a team of 60 engineers lodged in the Building 8 works on a technology that should allow us to type words on a computer by using just our minds.

Technology aims to materialize SF concepts

Although we are living in times of huge scientific and technological progress, many of us tend to still feel amazed by concepts like the ones of the Facebook F8 Conference. Typing words by using just our minds, hearing via the skin (for hearing-impaired persons), creating brain interfaces – all these are unsettling in a certain way, as TechCrunch puts it.

Perfecting such technology would break the inner-outer world barrier, in what the human mind is concerned. The optional character of giving up the privacy of our thoughts already is the big question for some. The F8 news reached various mass-media publications and became viral, and there are voices talking about tech-induced telepathy as a Facebook project.

Of course, all those familiarized with science know it’s a long and winding road from concept to prototype. Yet, it is also only logical for a company as big as Facebook to either understate the magnitude of its progress, in order to (relatively) keep it under the wraps, or to overstate it, as part of trying to raise brand interest.

Whichever the case, the recent unveilings surely managed to create quite a buzz.

How close are we to this utopian future of communications?

By utopian, we mean close to SF depictions, as we also hinted above. It all points towards an image of people employing technology to a high degree, while dropping the current hardware and UI. Imagine talking on your phone, without having to get it out of your pocket or sending a message by using just your thoughts. And, apparently, thought-sharing is not language-conditioned, so this kind of communications would go beyond cultural barriers as we know them today.

The head of Facebook’s experimental technologies division is Mrs. Regina Dugan, who previously led DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) as its 19th Director. She left in 2012 for Google, where she created and lead the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. The ATAP generated Google’s Project Tango and Project Ara.

Now with the Building 8 research team, she hopes to reach the stage of having a brain sensor prototype ready within 18 months. This prototype should be able to type 100 words per minute, as instructed by human thought. Once marking this milestone, the company aims to mass-produce and sell the resulting sensor.