Walkie-Talkie Apps Gaining in Popularity

Several new apps represent the modern version of two cans connected by a tight string: Two (or more) smartphones, connected by the Internet.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Several new smartphone apps exist that defy easy categorization, yet, according to David Pogue at the New York Times, they're quietly gaining approval from millions of users: "You open the app, tap someone’s name, hold down the big Talk button and speak. A second after you start talking...your voice bursts to life, extremely clearly, on your friend’s phone, wherever it may be in the world." Pogue says these free apps, which appear to be a modern version of walkie-talkies, have several advantages over other methods of communication.

What's the Big Idea?

Two of those advantages merit special mention: Unlike phone calls, the apps don't use up minutes, which may save money depending on where you're calling. Also, in a way, using one is like having one of your friends (who also has a smartphone with the app installed) with you wherever you go: "Less like a meeting, more like an intercom -- with a global reach." In fact one app, Zello, allows you to listen in on conversations from all over the world; Pogue compares it to "the sense of wonder you felt when you were little...listen[ing] to a ham radio."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less