"One of the values of the digital age is that you can recover lost time in the field of modern technology, so I propose to invite to this space students of all levels, and especially those from relevant faculties in the University of Havana, the Higher Polytechnic Institute Jose Antonio Echevarria (CUJAE) and from the University of Computer Sciences (UCI)", explained Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho) to Trabajadores newspaper.
The commitment by engineers and specialists at Google exists to share their knowledge and technology, assured the artist , so we can organise a conference with an international professor or share a video-call with Boston Dynamics, which is the division responsible for robotics at Alphabet, the multinational US company whose main subsidiary is Google.
"Now what is new is 50 times more useful that what you missed, so I say that time is already not totally irreversible," he declared. The opening of this new space, which some have seen as the result of the creation, years ago, of the first free wifi in the country, is also an expression of the current that has run since the beginning of the reestablishment of relations with the US. The initial contact with Google took place during the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, he explained, when half as a joke and half seriously we spoke of how bad the internet signal was that day.
The conversations continued, and the first problem arose when they sent a text by the method they usually used – Google Docs – and discovered that for Cuba that service is blocked.
The specialists at Google know that the blockade exists, what they can't understand is that the greatest empire brutalises an island or a person, said Kcho in reference to the prohibition expressed by OFAC to sign a legal agreement with ‘Alexis Leyva Machado': "they told them that they would need a special licence, and that they would not give it for at least 6 months.
For the time being, the new laboratory is already at work. Amonst the brand new equipment sit two cameras for livestreaming (live transmissions via a YouTube channel); loads of cardboard visors with special lenses for watching videos in 3D on Nexus 5 mobiles enabled by Google and currently they are waiting for the first jumps circular apparatus that supports the 16 GoPro cameras. "Those jumps were designed to record videos in 360 degrees, and my first action will be to film the celebration of the anniversary of the Playa Giron victory. We will put it up on YouTube (also belongs to Google) as a part of our reality", explained Kcho.
A special attraction is that they have 20 Chromebooks donated by the company. They are personal computers that work with Google Chrome operating system, based purely in the virtual information cloud on the internet. In fact without access to Google Webstore where programmes and applications are, these machines lose one of their principal virtues, which is that they don't need much internal storage.
Some of these devices, the results of the expertise and innovation of the Google specialists, need to be specially unblocked to be able to function in Cuba. Even then, there are limitations which are beyond their own creators. They remain to remind us that the blockade exists, and proof of it is the error 403 which Google reports when you click on the wrong page.
Translation by Cuba50