Tag Archives: Android

People interpret emojis in different ways

Emojis are used very widely by a diverse range of people. A recent study hoped to find how individuals interpret emojis, and if there was a general consensus among individuals about what different emojis meant.

The study, led by researchers from a Research lab, called GroupLens, at the University of Minnesota, found that individuals often view emojis in different ways. The discoveries will be presented in May at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence’s Conference on Web and Social Media in Germany.

Emojis can be cryptic in meaning. Graphic from Get Emoji
Emojis can be cryptic in meaning. Graphic from Get Emoji

The study discovered that individuals who viewed the same emoji disagreed on if the emoji expressed a negative, neutral or positive feeling approximately 25 percent of the time. For 95 percent of emojis, individuals did not strongly agree on what feeling the emoji expressed.

Each mobile platform has its own version of emojis, because of this, interpreting emojis can be particularly problematic when the sender and the receiver are using separate platforms.

The study’s participants, made up of 334 individuals, rated a total of 125 emojis. They were asked to rate the feeling expressed by an emoji on a scale from –5 (strongly negative) to 5 (strongly positive).

The researchers discovered, on average, that when two individuals viewed the same emoji, their feeling ratings were different by approximately 1.8 points, and when they looked at different versions of the same emoji, their ratings were different by approximately 2 points.

Individuals used contrasting words to describe the different renderings of the same emojis. For instance, when viewing the emoji of a “person raising both hands in celebration” individuals used words like “hand” or “celebrate” to describe the emoji from the Apple version, and words like “exciting” or “high” to describe the Microsoft version.

According to the study, the findings suggest that it would benefit users to merge the design of emojis across all platforms, which could lower the probability of miscommunication.

According to researchers, future studies may determine how individuals view emojis when they are viewed in the context of a text message, or if individuals from separate cultures also view emojis differently. Because the new study only looked at emoji with human characteristics, or anthropomorphic, future studies could investigate how individuals view non-anthropomorphic emojis.

App is friend, not foe

In a world where the smartphone is increasingly becoming the lifeline and constant companion or assistant to basically everyone on this planet, privacy has moved up in the concerns list. And if you’ve been paying attention to the whole data farming debate that’s sparked controversy about everyone from identity thieves to Apple to the federal government, there’s a chance you might be a little freaked out.

Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker
Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker

Nearly every app you download these days asks for access to some of your information, whether it be for contacts, location, or to connect to your Facebook. Regardless of what you download, it’s probably able to access some basic information off of your phone the second the code intermingles with your device. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world or of your privacy since the fact is there’s a only a small chance that the bad guys are going to target little ol’ you.

Still, it can be kind of creepy to know someone out there could potentially have access to information you didn’t explicitly entitle them to.

Luckily, this demand is sparking some supply from developers.

While very few app developers have seen any negative feedback from consumers about the coding which would allow for data harvesting off devices, the occasional outcries have inspired at least one site to post ratings on those apps. The site is called PrivacyGrade and allows the consumer to search for a particular app and few a rating based on the privacy expected from the app versus the actual level of information the app requires.

Security from seemingly harmless apps have come into more focus thanks to such scandals as the flashlight app. Something as small as a flashlight app, it turns out, can ask for a shocking amount of user data when you download it, tapping everything from your calendar to your phone’s location engine — even asking access to your camera.

While almost all of the information that is being harvested by these sort of apps are by legitimate businesses to be sold to advertising companies, this still seems invasive.

Currently, the site is only targeted for Android apps (because, be honest, most Apple users don’t care — we know what you do, Apple!). But in time it, or similar sites, should reach out to all mobile apps.

China: Handset Battleground

Apple has consistently tried to make a dent in the handset market in China. The iPhone 5C was supposed to change the game for the Cupertino-based computer company. It didn’t. Analysts have concluded that maintaining Apple’s current pricing strategy with the 5C is hurting its sales in China. Only one hundred dollars less than the 5S, the 5C is considered a preemptive failure to squash down the Android market share. Continue reading China: Handset Battleground

Ice Cream Sandwich, the new Google OS

The new OS from Android. Photo from Creative Commons.

Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to be the next generation mobile operating system for Google. This next generation OS was leaked to the public via eBay.

Ice Cream Sandwich is the codename for Android 4.0, though it is surprising that an early build of the OS would get leaked to the general public. This is not the first time something like this has happened. There is the now infamous leaked iPhone 4, which was left on a bar stool by a programmer doing some field testing of the product.

The buyer released a video detailing the new OS on YouTube which shows a number of interesting features. These features include such things as an updated Honeycomb user interface. If the home key is held down for a long period of time, it will open the now iconic Honeycomb menu.

Other new features on this phone are an improved user interface for the camera and a new look for both the notification bar and other menus. The video only reveals the new outward appearance to the OS; beyond that, people are left guessing what is running under the hood.

While there is no evidence this all may be a hoax, it is entirely possible that it could be. The announced find was made only shortly after Google made an official announcement about the OS. The announcement did little more than give the OS’s code name and go over some of the basic features that would be included in the new OS.

It would not be that difficult for an enterprising mind to hoax the new OS. That’s one of the drawbacks of an open source OS, it makes it extremely easy for malicious individuals to hoax finds. The existing versions could be manipulated by someone with the know how to reflect the interface demonstrated in the Google press conference.

Unlike the iPhone 4 leak, news agencies are not flocking to get a hand on this possibly leaked phone. A lesson possibly learned from the iPhone 4 debacle where Engadget paid $5,000 to get what was possibly, at the time, a Chinese knockoff iPhone only to later get sued by Apple for possibly leaking industry secrets. The suit was later dropped, but it is unlikely anyone is willing to face off against Google if it turns out this phone was acquired maliciously.

Whether this is a hoax or someone’s honest mistake of selling a test phone, it will be interesting to see how the story around this potential leak develops. Either way, everyone will get to enjoy the Ice Cream Sandwich OS later this fall when it’s officially released.