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Flyby Messenger Hopes to Deliver Content with Context

March 06, 2014

Imagine having the ability to pull out your Android smartphone and attach a secret message to an object for friends that know exactly where to look. Flyby Messenger can do just that, seemingly having been taken out of the spy genre of movies.


With Flyby, users are able to take a picture of any object they like and place a message over it that their friends can see when they, too, take a picture. The images aren’t just images, forcing people to take almost perfect copy images to find the message. Rather, the application uses 3D imaging provided by Google’s Project Tango in order to attach the message specifically to the object itself.

When you store an object on your phone using Flyby, you will be able to attach any amount of content to it. Flyby users can show their friends images of themselves at a monument, turn sporting equipment into live demos of them using the equipment, or even attach a snarky comment to a household item. According to Flyby’s website, the social media world is overfilled with content, but no context. Flyby will change this by making it so that content is always connected to context.

The idea of attaching messages to images is not original, as others have tried it with little success. The issue isn’t able to be boiled down just to software, but also consumer interest. With people already able to send images, messages, and videos to one another, or share them with the rest of the world already, Flyby’s hope of connecting content to context might be a barrier to gaining popularity. It adds an extra step for people to connect and share, something that many users may not be interested in. It seems to be a gimmick too. While fun, the only purpose it may have for many users is that of creating a fun scavenger hunt or game of I Spy. 

An article on TechCrunch has also noted that Flyby is not the most user-friendly, and can leave new users unsure of how to move forward, and perhaps disillusioned. This lack of user-friendliness coupled with its potential lack of uses may be a barrier to seeing Flyby succeed.

The people at Flyby believe that, while a challenge, there is a need for such an app and that with the right marketing they can convince consumers that Flyby is an important tool for sharing creatively. Investors seem to agree too, as Flyby has managed to raise $10 million through several routes.

Google seems interested in Flyby as well, and has given them the coveted position of being the first company to work with Project Tango in order to create a new messaging platform. Google’s Project Tango is a new effort by Google that is still very much in development. According to the website, “the goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Using the hardware of Android phones, Project Tango is able to record physical dimensions and create 3D images on screen. They are currently sending out prototypes of their work to different developers in order to start work on incorporating their work into different apps. Some of those apps that are being worked on include navigation applications and mobile games.

Flyby Messenger has a long way to go, as it only launched for the iPhone in January 2014, and currently only has 5 reviews. However, with the backing of both Google and $10 million, we all may soon find ourselves with a true spy gadget in hand.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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