Polygloss News: daily challenge improvements, new co-founder and more!

Etiene Dalcol, February 19, 2021

(Same news but in 🇧🇷 Portuguese: Últimas novidades no Polygloss)

There are new important changes in the app this week, especially regarding the daily challenges!

New in v0.12.0:

💡 Better daily challenge, with the option to add feedback and new voting system so answers get more exposure and more votes

⭐️ Language selector at the top bar picks the language of next suggested match at the Play tab. It also sets a priority order for pending matches, challenges, and language to be played with a friend from the friends tab

👉 Better opponent picking, lesson picking, and stale match reallocation algorithms

🗞 Announcements screen for important stuff

🐞 Fixed a bug on energy point consumption

🐞 Fixed bug on profile cards and other cosmetic bugs

Updates from previous version (0.11.2):

🇧🇷🇮🇹 Word tips for Portuguese & Italian

🇩🇪 Better German word tips

⏰ Reduced time to respond a match from 7 to 3 days (then it gets stale and reallocated to someone else)

screenshot showing the daily challenge screenshot showing the language filter

I hope you enjoy these updates! Let us know if you find any bug, what you think of these changes, and if you have any suggestions for future features!

It would also really help us if you could take the time to fill out a feedback survey for us: Answer our Feedback questionnaire

iOS Beta

We have sent iOS invitations to a big new batch of people from the waiting list for the iOS app. If you don’t receive your invitation yet, please be patient! So many of you signed up, which is really exciting, and we are rolling it out by stages as we improve the app 🙏 Meanwhile, you can share the Android version of Polygloss with your friends.

Coming next

♻️ We are working on a Quick play / Review feature, that allows you to review content you wrote in the past and play quick games built from sentences written in the past by other players. You can help us design this feature by commenting on our quick play brainstorming blog post. After this feature is done, we plan on changing the iOS private test to public test.

🖼 We are also working on a more professionally looking design! We got a new logo and now Doug is leading the update of the app’s design (and making some UX improvements in the meantime).

Check our Roadmap to see what else we are working on.

Polygloss got an award! 🎉

We had an interview with the entrepreneurship programme of the Queen Mary University of London and won an award! That will help us invest in some new improvements for the app.

Welcome Danilo!


The team at Polygloss is growing again! This time we welcome Danilo, who’s a Tech Lead and Partner at Clubbi, a company that empowers small merchants in Brazil. He will be joining us part-time as Co-founder, helping us making key project decisions. We met around 9 years ago in university and worked together at a medical dashboard company. I’m really excited to work with him again! But for those of you who are just getting to know him, here goes a short interview :)

What are your languages?

I speak Portuguese and English, and I am very interested in learning Spanish and Japanese, but I never really studied besides reading some content on a few websites.

Tell us a bit about yourself :)

When I finished high school I got a scholarship for doing my undergraduate at PUC-Rio in 2012 and I moved to Rio to live with my father. As I had taken a technical course and knew how to program a little, I knew I wanted to work with computing. I ended up getting into computer engineering at PUC but I regretted it. After waking up during a materials science class I realized that I wanted computing more than engineering so I changed my course to computer science.

My father was a little short of cash and as I knew programming I found a nice internship at a company incubated at PUC in the 2nd semester. This was very useful because I could live without my family money and it was an opportunity to learn and develop. It turned out that I didn’t even graduate but I took some of the modules that I was most interested in.

At the same time, there was a political dispute environment at Rio de Janeiro (who could have imagined that it would get even worse?) due to the upcoming big events at the time (World Cup and Olympic Games) and their impacts on people’s lives (gentrification, evictions, the implementation of UPPs and militarization). That ended up leading me to a greater interest in politics. I participated in several demonstrations and ended up joining the PSOL party and volunteered in some campaigns. I was an active militant for more than 1 year but today I am distant from the party, the personal cost of participating in a political party is not exactly cheap. I think that the stress was not sustainable for me, but I show up at campaigns to help.

What are your hobbies?

I love doing trails, I never did one longer than 5km but I intend to make longer trails soon. I like running and cycling and I am an initial aikido practitioner of Aikido and I will start Jodô too, but the pandemic is getting in the way because of the inherent contact of the practice.

Where do you stand out at work?

I usually stand out in backend development and software testing, I love to automate things for my own on the day-to-day. When I was working at OLX I was told I was very good at understanding complex legacy projects and fixing bugs or making changes, I used to be the person who volunteers himself to work on the tasks nobody wanted to.

What do you want to learn next?

Most of things I study are on-demand but I’ve been studying Rust for the past few years. I still don’t consider myself an expert because I need to better understand how macros and reactive model proposals work.

What was your most interesting job?

I think it was at B2W, not for the company but for the team and the challenge. It was a team that originated from the acquisition of Sieve, a price monitoring start-up, and it worked as a separate business unit. We worked with price monitoring of ecommerce sites, monitoring around 10 million urls. There was a challenge of scale and technical complexity to circumvent bot detectors. The team was very united and competent, I could learn a lot because I had a good combination of a hands-on and present leader with the opportunity to mentor interns and learn how to teach. We also didn’t waste time with overplanning and reporting the progress of things to someone outside of the field.

Don’t learn a language during lockdown

don't learn a language during lockdown written over a black and white paysage

Do you feel you are not keeping up with your studies? There is a lot of pressure to keep productivity and business-as-usual in current times. This demand is entirely absurd now, but expecting 100% productivity was already damaging before the pandemic.

We’ve been watching this hustle discourse invade the language community too, and despite creating a language learning app, we belive we have a duty to address it. The purpose of education is social transformation, so we cannot have a simple information-dumping approach to teaching and learning. We must be preoccupied with social issues.

We wrote a blog post with a discussion on this pressure, where it comes from, and how we can try to escape from it and go easier on ourselves, with some life lessons from Ailton Krenak, brazilian indigenous leader. You can read it here.

New Ko-fi page + Super thanks 💖

We now have a Ko-fi page, where you can buy us a coffee to support the development of Polygloss. Super thanks to everyone who is giving feedback, reporting bugs, writing reviews at the Play Store, sharing about Polygloss and the iOS Beta on social media and, of course, our subscribers on the Android app! Your support is very important for us to keep developing this game. When you subscribe you’ll get unlimited energy ⚡️, support developers and new features, and get access to an exclusive Slack group.

Recommendation of the month

Ophelia is a medieval history RMa student who is also learning French, Dutch, Italian, German, Hebrew and Latin. She has an awesome youtube channel where she shares her language journey and other interesting content about languages and history. My favorite video of hers is one she discusses how people communicate in the language learning community:

Etiene is a Software Engineer who is passionate about languages. She recently finished her MSc. in Computer Science researching Computational Linguistics and Computer Assisted Language Learning.