DRC’s Access to Technology is Limited, But New Initiatives Bring Hope
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), located in central Africa, is one of the largest countries in Africa, rich in natural resources, including diamonds, cobalt, copper, and gold. Unfortunately, it faces an information and communication technology (ICT) gap, which hinders its citizens’ access to various services. The lack of ICT access is a direct result of years of poor government leadership and insufficient investments in infrastructure.
According to a report, only 41% of the population in the DRC have access to mobile phone services, and shockingly only 3% have internet services. This means that many Congolese cannot communicate with friends and family outside their immediate communities, access news relevant to their lives, or engage in online business transactions.
The poverty rate in the DRC is also high, with almost two-thirds of Congolese citizens living on less than $2.15 per day. This rate is caused by the unfortunate reality of decades of civil conflict, a corrupt society, and insufficient investments in infrastructure.
The 2020 Capital Human Index ranks the DRC at 164 out of 174, indicating the quality of education, health, and economic prospects that are not promising for future generations. Lack of access to technology plays a significant role, as internet access has become critically important for education, employment and innovation.
However, there is hope for the DRC. Advancement in technology could be critical for improving quality of life, decreasing poverty rates, and helping Congolese citizens reach their full potential. This has been realized, and initiatives to increase technological access in the DRC are underway.
In 2019, Facebook launched a new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the DRC, which aims to encourage local technology companies and startups to remain, creating additional jobs through tech training and support. This initiative has already led to the creation of jobs and the empowerment of small businesses.
The IXP has connected Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Content Providers, and other ICT companies in the country to an equal and open exchange to share traffic and minimize latency, a significant bottleneck and cost for Internet access in the country. Furthermore, with the Facebook accelerator, the IXP encourages local start-ups to develop technologies, such as mobile applications – especially those utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning, which can impact local development and address concerns specific to the DRC.
This initiative has helped to increase the confidence of small businesses, reduce costs of accessing the internet, and improvise local products by promoting new technologies. Local entrepreneurs can now undertake business transactions online, reducing the time and costs of traveling to their trading businesses, making them more cost-effective and efficient.
With expanded technology access, the government can expect new revenue and job opportunities, while the DRC can move closer to meeting U.N. Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The initiative not only expands internet access, but it also supports ICT innovation and can lead to a substantial economic transformation.
In conclusion, as the world advances in technology, the DRC needs to be at the forefront of technological progress to reduce poverty rates and improve the general standard of living. The initiative by Facebook and other organizations toward expanding technology access in the DRC is a welcomed development that has the potential to make a significant difference.
It is worth noting that as internet access has revolutionized communication platforms, governments like the DRC hoping to make a difference will need to ensure that access to the internet is elevated by investing more in ICT innovations.
Meta Introduces Multiple Profiles on Facebook
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, recently unveiled a feature that will allow users to maintain multiple personal profiles under one primary account. Aimed at providing a more organized and compartmentalized experience, this move signifies a fresh approach to enhance user interaction on the platform.
Revolutionizing User Experience
Facebook users can now add up to four additional personal profiles attached to their primary account, allowing them to switch between these profiles without the need to log out and back in. This feature, which started undergoing testing in July, offers numerous potential advantages:
- Enhanced Segregation:
- Users can have distinct profiles for personal, work-related, and hobby-based activities.
- For instance, one could have a separate profile for their passion in the food industry while maintaining another to engage with friends and family.
- Unique Content Feeds: Each profile will have its own feed, displaying content exclusively based on its specific interests.
Motivation Behind the Move
According to Meta’s announcement blog post, the feature draws inspiration from Instagram’s success in facilitating similar functionalities. The primary objective is to allow users to keep different spheres of their lives separate on the platform. As stated by Meta, the creation of multiple profiles ensures users can effectively decide “who they share with and what content they see.”
Through beta testing, Meta discerned that many users favored a clearer distinction among friends, groups, and interests. Such a feature is aimed at enabling users “to engage with the audience they believe is most relevant.”
Key Features and Restrictions
The newly unveiled feature comes with its set of attributes and initial limitations:
- Profile Management: Users can easily switch between profiles via the menu available when they tap on their profile picture.
- Default Settings: New profiles will begin with Facebook’s standard privacy and notification configurations. Users have the flexibility to alter these settings individually.
- Privacy: The primary account won’t publicly display the existence of secondary profiles.
- Feature Restrictions: The secondary profiles won’t initially support Facebook’s Dating, Marketplace, Professional Mode, and payments. These will remain exclusive to the primary profile.
- Messaging Limitations: As of now, messaging for secondary profiles will be restricted to the Facebook app and the web version. However, Meta plans to introduce Messenger support for these profiles in the upcoming months.
- Profile Authenticity: Secondary profiles are bound by Facebook’s guidelines. This implies users cannot falsely represent their age, or location, or impersonate someone else.
This multi-profile functionality has begun its global rollout and is expected to span the coming months. Accessible via both the Facebook app and its web version, users can navigate to the “More” menu to find the “Create another profile” option.
Diving Deeper: Implications and Future Prospects
As Meta rolls out this new feature, the implications extend beyond mere user experience.
- Ad Targeting and Revenue: With users segmenting their interests more distinctly across multiple profiles, advertisers might find it easier to target ads more accurately. This could lead to more effective ad campaigns, potentially increasing Facebook’s ad revenue.
- User Engagement: The introduction of multiple profiles might encourage users to spend more time on the platform. As users segregate their interests, they could become more involved in niche communities, increasing the overall time spent on Facebook.
- Data Privacy Concerns: With more profiles comes more data. While Meta ensures the utmost privacy, there might be concerns about how this data is managed, stored, and potentially used for ad targeting.
- Platform Complexity: While the idea of compartmentalizing interests is appealing, there’s a potential drawback of the platform becoming too complex for some users. The addition of new features often comes with a learning curve, and not all users might find it intuitive.
A New Era for Facebook
Facebook has continually evolved, adapting to user preferences and digital advancements. With this latest feature, the platform moves closer to delivering a more personalized and user-friendly experience. Users now have the chance to compartmentalize their digital lives, ensuring that different facets such as work, personal relationships, hobbies, and communities remain distinct.
This innovation, however, comes with a word of caution. Users must ensure that their secondary profiles adhere to the platform’s policies. Misrepresentation, especially concerning identity and age, could have repercussions on the primary account.
Overall, as Facebook ventures into this new territory, the potential for enhanced user interaction and satisfaction seems promising. Only time will reveal the broader impact of this initiative on the platform’s global user base’s overall engagement and retention metrics.
YouTube’s Rounded Corners Redesign Sparks Discussions Among Users
In a recent move by Google, YouTube has seen yet another tweak in its design layout. The video streaming platform has decided to shift from square to rounded corners, which has ruffled a few feathers among its massive user base.
Shift to Rounded Corners
Google’s approach to YouTube’s design seems to be ever-evolving. From the web version to the Android application, the transition from sharp square corners to softer rounded edges has become evident. But unlike the constructive changes observed in other platforms, like Google Maps, some users believe these alterations on YouTube are unnecessary.
Android Police recently unveiled a screenshot confirming the implementation of rounded corners in the YouTube Android application. This design choice has introduced more blinding white light in the video’s background, which could prompt users to activate the Dark theme.
Statistics and Changes
- YouTube boasts an impressive 2.70 billion active users in 2023.
- The platform continually incorporates new features and improvements for a seamless user experience.
- However, the recent design changes have left users puzzled about their actual benefits.
- Feedback on the rounded corners, especially in the web version, has not been particularly positive.
- The same design changes are soon expected to be mirrored on the YouTube Android app, though it has not yet been launched universally.
Steps to Experience the Change on Android
For users curious about exploring this change on their Android devices, the process is fairly straightforward:
- Open the YouTube application.
- Click on the profile picture located in the upper right corner.
- Proceed to Settings > General > Appearance.
- A popup will emerge, asking users to select a preferred device theme, be it Light or Dark.
Web Version Nuances
With the redesign, it is not only the thumbnails on the web version of YouTube that have experienced the shift to rounded corners. However, these rounded edges disappear when videos are viewed in full-screen or Theater mode, making a reappearance once users revert to the Default view. As of now, it remains unclear whether similar behavior will be observed in the Android app.
Yet to Reach All Devices
Not every YouTube aficionado with an Android device has experienced this change. Notably, devices like the Pixel 6 Pro running on Android 14 Beta 5.3 are yet to showcase this update. The company’s plans concerning the iOS YouTube applications and whether they will adopt this rounded design remain under wraps.
User Feedback and Implications
Feedback is crucial when it comes to design evolution. Companies like Google, owning vast platforms like YouTube, must be receptive to the comments and criticisms of their users. Thus far, the feedback regarding the rounded corners has been a mixed bag. While some users find the rounded corners modern and aesthetically pleasing, others feel it is an unnecessary tweak that detracts from the viewing experience, especially due to the increased white light surrounding videos. This kind of polarized response is not uncommon and has been observed with past YouTube redesigns.
YouTube’s journey in the tech realm has indeed been a tumultuous one. While the platform reigns supreme among video streaming services, its design choices are not always well-received by its users. The recent move to introduce rounded corners to both the web and Android app versions has undoubtedly ignited conversations, both in favor and against. Only time will tell if this change becomes a permanent fixture or is soon replaced by another design evolution.
As with any major platform, especially one as influential and user-centric as YouTube, design changes and updates are par for the course. The goal of these updates is typically to enhance user experience, make navigation more intuitive, and ensure content is consumed in the most enjoyable manner. However, given the vast and diverse user base of YouTube, it is almost inevitable that any change will be met with a mix of enthusiasm, indifference, and resistance.
Emoji Kitchen Now Available in Google Search
The ability to create unique and delightful emoji combinations has always been a quirky attraction for many. Now, this fun feature has made its way to Google Search, broadening its accessibility to a wider range of devices and users.
How It All Started
- Emoji Kitchen’s Debut: Emoji Kitchen first emerged as a delightful feature on Gboard for Android a couple of years back. Its core function? Allowing users to combine two different emojis to produce a unique sticker.
- Past Accessibility: Before its integration into Google Search, the feature was exclusively available to Android users via Gboard or through unofficial third-party platforms.
- Expansion to the Web: Now, as per reports by 9to5Google, the Emoji Kitchen is officially being integrated into Google Search, making it accessible to iPhone users and those on desktop computers.
Using the Emoji Kitchen in Google Search
To dive into this fun emoji-mashing tool, follow these simple steps:
- Search for “Emoji Kitchen” in Google.
- Click on the “Get cooking” prompt that appears atop the search results.
- Choose your first emoji.
- Select the second emoji either from the list or use the randomizer feature for a surprise combination.
- Once your unique emoji is crafted, click on it to copy it to your clipboard. This emoji can then be pasted anywhere – in messages, documents, presentations, or online chats.
Notably, this web version does provide slightly fewer combination possibilities when juxtaposed with the extensive list found in the Gboard app.
Emoji Kitchen’s Evolution
Ever since its inception in early 2020 as a part of the Gboard, the Emoji Kitchen has carved its niche in the digital sphere. The feature was a brainchild of Android Product Design Chief, Jennifer Daniel, who made the big announcement of its broader availability on X (formerly known as Twitter).
This expansion means that even if users have different keyboard apps on their Android devices, they can still access this feature. Moreover, the functionality now stretches across various devices, including desktops, Macs, and iPhones.
In a chat with Android Police the previous year, Jennifer hinted at the future development of Emoji Kitchen, possibly allowing more than just two emoji combinations. Though this hasn’t materialized yet, the current availability in Google Search is indeed a significant step.
The Future of Emoji Integration
Google hasn’t stopped at just the Emoji Kitchen. Other innovative features, like the emoji wallpapers in Android 14, are also in the pipeline. This feature is akin to Emoji Kitchen in its functionality, letting users choose several Unicode characters. The operating system then suggests a color palette and pattern to arrange the selected emojis, paving the way for personalized wallpapers.
While the tech community eagerly awaits the release of Android 14, Emoji Kitchen in Google Search offers an engaging way to experiment with emojis, spicing up digital communications.
The Broader Impact of Emojis in Digital Communication
Emojis have come a long way from their initial designs and purposes. They aren’t just playful additions to a message but have evolved to convey complex feelings, emotions, and even narratives in a concise manner. With platforms like Emoji Kitchen, there is an added layer of personalization. Users aren’t restricted to generic emojis; they can create symbols that align closely with their feelings at a specific moment.
Enhancing User Experience
The integration of Emoji Kitchen into Google Search isn’t just about emojis. It’s about enhancing the overall user experience. By giving users the ability to customize their communication tools, tech giants like Google are emphasizing the importance of user-centric design and functionality.
As more users get acquainted with this feature, we can expect an upsurge in emoji combinations reflecting diverse cultures, personalities, and sentiments. This not only enriches digital conversations but also fosters inclusivity by representing a wider range of emotions and experiences.
In today’s digital age, emojis have emerged as a universal language, adding emotion and nuance to the often black-and-white world of text-based communication. With features like the Emoji Kitchen, users can now take their creativity a notch higher, crafting unique emojis that resonate with their emotions and expressions. Google’s move to bring this feature to its search platform underscores the growing importance and popularity of emojis in our daily digital conversations, bridging gaps and enhancing the nuances of online communication.