Report – Newly Operational linkNYC Kiosks Between 24th and 27th Streets

A few days ago Letícia and I went out to inspect more newly operational linkNYC kiosks in Manhattan, on Third Avenue between 24th and 27th Streets. We took team member Sean’s advice in terms of his recommendations for follow-up exploration, focusing particularly on the web browser’s content filtering mechanism, what the kiosk’s touchscreen does when it is not being used, and whether or not the kiosk seemed to be drawing attention to itself in its newly operational state.

User Interface / Web Browsing / Apps: Letícia and I were able to pretty easily navigate the user interface. As Sean mentioned previously, it felt quite familiar, like a standard Android OS (if you’re an Android user).

20160226_124301We were able to use the various features of the Google Maps app with ease…

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…and make a phone call to each other (the speaker on the kiosk was, if set at its loudest setting, loud enough to hear from around 20 or 30 feet away…EVEN competing with NYC traffic)

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We were able to easily access the web browser and browse various sites, including those based in Brazil.

Content Filtering: Letícia and I were interested as to how/if the browser would filter web content.

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Using the web browser, we decided to try searching a fairly objectionable search term (Porn), with the goal of seeing what results would be returned, or if the browser would filter a specific search. We found that the browser did not filter this specific search, that it would supply links (and accompanying graphic images), but that once a link was clicked the content would be blocked from loading.

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We found what we considered a little bit of a bug with the content filtering mechanism, in that if a user were to search this specific term and access the IMAGES section of the Google Search, the images shown within the images search mosaic were graphic in nature, and in a resolution that made them clearly visible to the kiosk user and perhaps those passing by. As a result, a user could, hypothetically, access content (in some form) that others might find offensive given that the kiosk is situated in a public place.

The kiosk’s wait state and general noticeability: Letícia and I made this video documenting these aspects ….

We’ll be continuing the documentation process as more linkNYC kiosks come online. In addition to documenting newly operational kiosks in-situ, we’re planning to follow up with those that we’ve already visited. It would be interesting to explore if the location of the kiosk and weather conditions have any specific influence on their usage.