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buzzd Harnesses the Swarm for Real-Time Social City Guides

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on June 21st, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Today more than ever, we use technology to announce the minutiae of our lives. Where we are, who we're with, what we're doing. We tweet about breakfast, check into places on Foursquare, write reviews about restaurants on Yelp while waiting for the check. Or at least, some of us do. If you're like me, maybe you've wondered what the heck all that information is good for. I mean, who really cares what you did for breakfast, or where you were at on Tuesday night?

While the endless stream of status updates might be annoying on a personal level, however, some companies have found that they provide a rich trove of data that can actually be quite useful. buzzd is one such example: the free app harnesses the power of the swarm, drinking in real-time data from Twitter, Loopt, Yelp, Foursquare, and many other sources and distilling it to figure out which nearby locations are most popular.

buzzd measures places with a "buzzdmeter," which tracks the "buzz" each location has received on various social networks. The app then checks your location, and shows you nearby places with the highest buzz. These can be restaurants, museums, or shops; in New York City, for example, the Museum of Modern Art was "buzzing."

buzzd claims that by rating places within the app, you earn "influence," which can then be applied towards rewards such as gift cards, plane tickets, and more. However, I couldn't find any specifics on the website about how to actually obtain rewards.

Regardless, buzzd seems to be a great way to harness all of our real-time social networks to show which places are the most popular...right now. Combine that with the app's awareness of your location, and buzzd feels like a real iPhone native. And thus, out of the swarm we find something useful...!

(Blackberry and Android users, y'all can also join in the fun with platform-specific versions of buzzd.)

Social Network Tool For Status Update Addicts Now Available

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 14th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

If you're one of those sociable types who has more friends than you can keep track of, your best chance of staying in touch is to use the power of social networking.

But what if you got caught up in the MySpace explosion and then jumped on the Facebook bandwagon only to be lured by Twitter and Buzz? You can't just ignore one network and stick with the most popular one. Well... you could but that just wouldn't be sociable now, would it.

No, your only hope is to let everyone you have ever met via social networking know what you're doing by updating your status message on each service. But logging in to each site in turn and posting about how you had eggs for breakfast is probably going to keep you busy until it's time to let your followers know about the contents of your lunchbox. This is where Hellotxt comes in.

The suitably text speak-titled service gathers all of your social networks into one place and allows you to update everything in one go. The aggregation idea is nothing new, but what sets Hellotxt apart from the pack is the sheer number of social networks it supports. Over fifty of them!

Scanning the list, the usual suspects are present but there are some that we have never heard of and some you don't usually see in this type of app.

The interface is clean and simple and has a few nice details such as a character count (handy for Twitter's 140 maximum) and link shortening and you can add photos from your iPhone's Camera Roll to the updates you send out. You can also select which services your update goes to rather than fire out a message to all of them each time. Handy if you're attempting to mix business with pleasure in the social network world.

You will need to use the Hellotxt.com website to attach your accounts to the Hellotxt service before using the app and you also have to register with Hellotxt which is free, but beyond that there's no additional setup to worry about.

While we're sure none of you out there will need to update every social network supported by Hellotxt, if your online updates are starting to wear you down and eat up your time, this free app will be an essential download.