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.)
Now here’s a clever idea. Forget about meeting people on Twitter who you think might be cool to get to know, find them based on their musical taste by comparison to yours.
MeetMySong is a new social networking service and app that matches your iPhone music library with other users of the app and even lets you see them and their sonic selections in real time using augmented reality. The app scans your iPhone’s music library in order to create your Music Personality and then creates feeds based around the songs you play. Not only does MeetMySong show you what music your friends are currently listening to, it also lets you know what’s being played locally, based on your GPS location.
The existing social networks aren’t ignored either with the ability to post your currently playing track to Facebook and Twitter as well as import your friends from both services. Ideal for this kind of app is the integration with your iPhone’s iPod app, which means you don’t have to leave the application to control your music, which is monitored by MeetMySong to further develop your profile.
What’s instantly enjoyable about MeetMySong by comparison to other social networks out there is that you don’t need to type a word, just listen to the music that you feel like listening to in order to interact with the community. Of course, there is a messaging option built in, but your audio picks are what are important here. Another huge benefit is the exposure to new music that you’re probably going to like. With friends based on your preferences, their tastes should throw up a selection of new bands for you to sample and you can even preview and buy songs from within the application. Sadly, if you use Pandora or Spotify on your iPhone for music, there’s little integration to be had with MeetMySong and, until iPhone OS 4.0 this will likely be impossible. However, with some clever coding and the addition of multitasking to the next iPhone OS, it might not just be iTunes music the app pins your tastes on.
More so than Twitter, we can also see this app bringing people together through a mutual love of music, especially given the apps location aware nature and, as the network grows in numbers another interesting element, likely to pique the interest of record labels, will appear. The Top Artist feature that creates a sort of unofficial top 20 chart that could help track artist performance on a play-by-play basis or pick out musical trends in real time.
We’ve only just started using MeetMySong and so far have found it an interesting, interactive alternative to simply playing music from your iPhone. Judging by the “on air” activity within the app it seems like others are enjoying MeetMySong in a number of locations worldwide too. MeetMySong is free to download from iTunes and requires a quick account creation process in order to get it up and running. Once you are done, new songs and friends await you.
If you love your music, this app is certainly worth a go although we’re a little worried that our closest MeetMySong match is currently only 41% compatible. Then again, perhaps that’s just down to our taste in music…
If you’re currently running Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and MySpace apps on your iPhone, why not update them all from one spot? Say hello to Seesmic.
Seesmic has been available on a number of mobile and desktop platforms for a while now and has, at last, made its way to the iPhone. For those who don’t know, Seesmic allows users to update multiple social networks from one place and by default offers Twitter, Facebook and Ping.fm. Ping.fm is a service bought by Seesmic this year and covers the rest of the social networks that include MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr and more.
Seesmic offers a clean, dashboard-like interface with spaces for each network, and customization options allow users to add a space for particular social networking feeds such as trending topics and searches. Updates made from Seesmic can be sent to all of your networks and also across multiple accounts as well, so you don’t have to log in to each one separately anymore. Another cool feature is the ability to save messages and updates to Evernote for future reference. Unlike many Twitter apps for iPhone, Seesmic’s flexibility and customization options make it a very useful tool and one that will benefit those of a social networking persuasion.
If you have more social network accounts than friends and time saving time is important to you, this looks to be the application to keep you in the loop and your contacts up-to-date.
We’re getting excited about an upcoming racing game for iPhone called Cubed Rally Racer. Jared Bailey, creator of DuckNCover for iPhone, has submitted his latest app which, from the look of the trailer below, could be an addictive slice of fun for your iPhone. The app is described as a 3D isometric rally car racing game and Jared says “Think Dirt meets RC Pro-Am meets Canabalt”. If this turns out to be true we can see ourselves getting hooked!
Cubed Rally Racer features randomly generated levels and sees the user play for best times while picking up gas cans scattered across each track. The game has a nice retro 8-bit look with exciting curves and jumps and will also offer OpenFeint connectivity as well as Facebook and Twitter integration.
Cubed Rally Racer has been submitted to the App Store and will cost $1.99 so check out the video below and keep tabs on www.nocanwin.com for news of the game’s launch.
Back in the early nineties, nobody would have understood the meaning of “Googling” something, but Google is now one of the most powerful companies on the web. The team at INYFX, Inc hopes that Whoodl will follow the same path. While not a search engine, this app does return fast results – the names of people you’ve forgotten. You know the scenario, someone spots you across the room, waves and begins making their way over to you. You smile back, attempting to stay calm as the icy realization that you’ve forgotten their name hits. So what do you do? Hope that a simple “Hello, how are you?” suffices? Maybe, but what if you have to introduce them to someone else who joins you? The first thing you need to do is to PAY ATTENTION next time you meet someone. If that doesn’t work, download Whoodl.
Whoodl is a very simple app that allows you to quickly tap in a name along with certain keywords and save them for quick access later. Dave you met at the golf course goes in as Dave Shore with the tag “golf”. Next time you see him out of context at the supermarket and struggle for his name, type golf into Whoodl and you’ll have your name in a matter of seconds. The company claims the app is far faster than the iPhone’s address book and that it’s designed for those names you wouldn’t necessarily add to your Contacts anyway.
We do worry that adding multiple names to a single tag could lead you to calling someone by the wrong name entirely, but this is nevertheless an interesting app that could help you out of some very sticky social situations.
It’s a phrase you’ve only ever heard in the movies or on TV, but now “this message will self destruct in 30 seconds” has become a reality on the iPhone. MEDL Mobile, Inc has released a new app that allows iPhone users to send and receive messages with a preset destruction timer that keeps the contents of your message safe. A message can be set with timer of between five and sixty seconds before its contents are destroyed. Even more covert than simple self-destruction, you can also codename your contacts within the app so their true identity is never revealed when sending or receiving information. The app caters for images, audio and video and also provides a Push notification feature to inform you that a message has arrived.
We’re not exactly sure who needs this level of secrecy on their iPhone and find the passcoded homescreen lock provides adequate security for us. However, if you really want to keep your conversations under wraps and have $2.99 to spare, the app is available to download right now. But we didn’t tell you that, right?
One of the many guilty pleasures of Facebook is browsing through the photos your friends have posted. Whether you’re laughing at shots from a drunken night out or enjoying how fat your ex has gotten, it can become an addictive pastime. While there are some Facebook tools available for the iPad, there is yet to be an official Facebook app launched. Fortunately, developers appreciate the fact that iPad users need to stay in touch with their social networks and have created some excellent offerings such as FlickPad.
Thanks to this unique app from Shacked Software you can now feed your Facebook photo addiction with a beautiful, native iPad app. Users are presented with the latest Facebook photos when they open the app and can select favorites as well as share the images they find. The interface makes browsing images fun and offers some great multi-touch features including double and triple taps to access different options and views. One of our favourite features is the ability to hide all of the photos from a particular person although, if you do that, maybe you should question why you are friends with them in the first place.
UPDATE: The official Twitter app has now appeared in the App Store and is available here.
New features include:
Search all tweets and find local users as well as view Top Tweets and Browse Suggested users.
No account needed
You can now browse Twitter without an account using this app. You will still need to sign up in order to actually tweet.
If you’re not a Twitter user already you can sign-up for an account within the application.
Second accounts can be added using the Accounts and Settings button under the More tab.
Retweet and other popular actions have been given more prominence
Tweets now look more like Twitter.com
We’re playing with this app right now and will have more details for you soon.
After Twitter acquired Atebits, the developer of Tweetie for iPhone, in April this year, many were expecting an official Twitter app to be launched soon after. It appears that day has now come with the disappearance of Tweetie from the App Store and a number of rumors across the web of the official app popping up and then vanishing on iTunes. Most expect the app to be simply called “Twitter” and be offered for free rather than the $2.99 of Tweetie 2.
Twitter launched its official Android app at the start of this month, so it makes sense that an iPhone offering should follow. No details as to the design of the app have been released however, given the short time between acquisition and launch, we would expect the new app to retain many of the features found in Tweetie.
We’ll be scouring the App Store and, of course, Twitter for any news and will bring it to you as soon as we have it. We did and we have.
It’s hard to avoid the daily (sometimes hourly) Twitter updates and Facebook posts informing you that a friend has “checked-in” at Starbucks. Apps and services like Foursquare and Gowalla have taken the mobile market by storm with millions of downloads and as many users sharing their locations in order to earn points and become the virtual “mayor” of a specific spot.
If you’ve never used such a service, it’s easy enough to disregard these ventures as pointless playthings for those with too much time on their hands. However, this appears not to be the case if news from Booyah Inc. is true across the location-based mobile app market. The company has recently closed a $20 million round of financing which sees prominent investor, Jim Breyer, join its Board of Directors.
Booyah is the creator of MyTown, a popular location-based social game where users “virtually” buy their favorite stores and locations. As they do so they earn points, charge rent on owned locations, unlock rewards and earn cash to be spent in real locations. The New York Times said “MyTown Turns the Real World into Monopoly” however it appears that the money to be made by developers in this market is very, very real. MyTown is currently played by over 2 million users and is growing at a rate of 100,000 new users week over week, according to a Booyah Inc. press release. MyTown has also passed 60 million check-ins and 250 million virtual item impressions per month with users spending an average of 70 minutes using the app each day. What DO these people do for a living?
This latest injection of funds is to be spent on igniting and accelerating the company’s “real and digital world offerings” which doesn’t offer much insight. However, with Jim Breyer, the Director of Wal-Mart Stores and Dell on board, we’re willing to bet some significant retail-based features are soon to be available for MyTown players. Breyer is also on the board of companies including Brightcove, Facebook, Etsy and Marvel Entertainment.
“Booyah is at the epicenter of the fastest growing markets today–mobile, social, and interactive gaming,” said Breyer. “Not only are they a next-generation entertainment company, but they are bridging the gap between consumers and businesses. The Booyah management team has both the passion and talent to innovate and create a wholly unique experience.”
If you’re yet to try out MyTown for yourself, it seems like now might be the time to get involved. The app is available for free on the App Store with a number of In App Purchases available.
For those of us of legal age and discerning taste, there’s nothing better than a decent glass of wine. We’re also big fans of social networking and can often be found enjoying a tipple with Twitter of an evening. If you’re following this train of thought so far, why not take it to the next level by combining the two disciplines with one iPhone app? That’s what you get when you download the free GrapeVine app, a social network for wine lovers.
Whether you know your Pinot from your plonk or not, GrapeVine aims to bring the world’s wine drinkers together to share new flavors and find out more about the drink they love.
Friends can quickly be found within the app and categorized by the types of wine they drink. Comments can be added to wine picks and networks created as well as friend lists. As one reviewer says, GrapeVine is “like Twitter for us wine folks”.
The app itself is neatly designed and offers a range of customization options including skinning and profile creation. You can even add friends from your iPhone’s Address Book to begin sharing their tastes on “The Vine” which is where most of the grape-based banter flows. Each wine suggestion comes complete with information on the wine type, country and year and also includes a short description of how the wine was discovered by the user, along with pictures. Fortunately, Twitter’s 140-character limit doesn’t apply here.
The Wine Geek section of the app provides a regularly updated mini blog covering all of the latest wine news and accessories as well as opinion on the latest wine trends.
Among the networking flavours found in this full-bodied app, hints of commerce also mingle, with a clever shopping list feature that helps you track down suggested wines at your local store. Not only that, but GrapeVine is open to the wine industry so sellers can promote their upcoming wines and promotions directly to the consumer via the app.
“We’re democratizing wine”, says GrapeVine co-founder Helena Mitchell. “Every wine drinker is now a respected tastemaker and potential trendsetter on GrapeVine. Every wine business can contribute to GrapeVine’s consumer conversation and discovery experience, regardless of size, location or budget.”
After a quick play with this app we were excited by its potential and look forward to seeing how this new type of social network develops. Of course, those who prefer a cold Bud and a burrito (and believe us we do too) may not be quite as entertained by this app, but if you’re even a little bit curious about the world of wine, we’d recommend giving GrapeVine a try.
An iPad app is also in the works according to GrapeVine’s managing director, Kim Alexander:
“iPad is definitely in the plan. The multimedia aspects of wine shares on The Vine and content we provide in Wine Geek are perfect for iPad and will look even more beautiful there. As a distributor of people’s proprietary content, our job is to offer platforms like iPad, to make the content its best. You’ll see us move more and more into celebrity, lifestyle and entertainment wine content, also making it critical to provide a beautiful aesthetic. We have some very exciting and new ways to talk about wine in the works, including a bit of a makeover ourselves.”
GrapeVine is available for free on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch users. Free registration is also required to begin using the app.
Why isn’t there a native Facebook app for iPad yet? It’s not like the company hasn’t had the time or lacks the resources to update its existing iPhone app. For the time being, iPad users have to choose between blowing up the iPhone app to almost unusable dimensions for the larger screen or use the web app which, to be fair, is acceptable.
That said, it does seem strange that such an obvious iPad app hasn’t yet made its way to the App Store. Thank heavens then for the guys at sobees who have taken it upon themselves to put together a Facebook client for the iPad and, from our initial inspection, have done a brilliant job!
Blurring the lines between an RSS reader and Twitter client, sobees for Facebook manages all of the most commonly used sections of a Facebook account such as Status updates, links, images and video.
The interface is mapped out like the newspaper apps we’ve become accustomed to on the iPad with each section dedicated its own scrollable space. One cool feature is the Breaking News section that grabs a recent wall post or status update and positions it as a breaking news headline for your friend group. The Latest Hot Images section shows recently posted images and lets you swipe through them direct from the front page of the app.
While it takes a little time to load, the People section serves as an attractive who’s who of your Facebook friends, using their profile images as a wall of pictures. The Photos section takes a cue from the iPad’s own Photos app, grouping albums into Event-like galleries. Sadly, the pinch features in Apple’s native Photos app doesn’t feature here.
Events is one of the most handy of sobees for Facebook’s features, a simple calendar interface with small icons on each day to denote a birthday or other event. In most instances throughout the app, clicking on a friend’s profile picture brings up a neat contextual menu that offers a route direct to their profile.
Of course, sobees for Facebook isn’t just for consumption, it also allows you to update your Status, comment on videos and images and post on your friends walls. At the moment it seems you have to manually update via a small refresh button with no obvious option we’ve found to auto-refresh. That, however, is a small price to pay for an excellent app that, for the time being, is free and provides a beautiful alternative to Facebook’s web app on your iPad.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 8th, 2010 by Chris Hall Our Rating: :: SOUL SUCKING
MyTown is the new king of location based social apps. What this means is that you can build up a big city that nobody ultimately cares about, only to realize later on that you will never get those precious moments back. I write this as I am collecting my towns rent... my realization moment is sure to come soon.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted January 26th, 2010 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: GOOD IDEA, BAD IMPLEMENTATION
Chomp is designed to show you the best of the App Store from user input and live user reviews. With its Facebook-esque UI and strong feature set it should be one not to be missed, but sadly it's let down by the lack of user intuitiveness.
Tweet N'Go Pro is desperately trying to be a new twitter client for folks who are light users of the service. Although it has some really great features, it just doesn't stand up to the big boys - yet.
DoGood from Mobil33t is a simple little app, well designed, and single purpose. DoGood presents you with a single task every day, a task that does a little bit of good for yourself or someone else.
Once you complete the task you can post a comment about what you did or the task itself. You can also read what other people have posted. Also available is an archive of previous task comments. Once you do the daily task you can post it to Twitter or Facebook via Safari Mobile.
See, I told you it was simple.
The app was developed by 3 Univerisity of Michigan students and is the first project of the company they started to develop iPhone apps, Mobil33t.
The app is free, so why not download it and do a little good?
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted May 12th, 2009 by Billy Miller Our Rating: :: CUSTOM FUN
When creating dice you gradually learn what looks best. When something is produced that looks exceptional in motion, it's a great feeling. I can see this being fun for everyone from young children to fandom enthusiasts to grandmothers who'd rather look at their darlings than standard pips on monopoly dice.
Glu have been a little cautious on their adoption of the iPhone platform. While they have a few games out thus far, they have yet to really make their voice heard on the iTunes App Store. However, it looks like that is about to change. Glu gave us a sneak peak at some of the games they will be releasing over the next few weeks. We were promised that this is only the tip of the iceberg, as they are planning on releasing 20 games for the iPhone this year. Here’s some info on the ones they are ready to talk about now.
Build-a-lot strikes me as a simplified SimCity, smashed up with a time management game like Sally’s Salon. In this game you buy, sell, and build property in a small segment of a city. The goal is to make as much money as possible by selling and renting properties. There are plenty of levels and plenty to keep you busy. Some of the later levels really turn up the heat and require that you really move your fingers. Approximate release date: March 30, $4.99
Cooking Star is a mini game collection that obviously reminds me of Cooking Mama. But from what I’ve seen of both, this one plays better. An achievement system in this app has been includes where you unlock real recipes, an innovative features. Glu plans to add additional mini games to this title every once in a while, which will increase the value of this app. Approximate release date: April, 2009, $2.99
Cops and Robbers is a cross between a racing game, a platformer, and a timing game. You play as one of two robbers, and run and jump your way through multiple levels. You goal is to collect money to pay your rent. Once you complete a level, you can re-play the level as a police officer and try to catch yourself from when you played as the robber — like ghost racing. This game is one of the more originals we’ve seen from Glu and has good potential. The only problem we see in the current build is that the action can be a little stop-start with the camera changes. Approximate release date: Late April, 2009, $4.99
Glyder is a collection game where you are on a glider, trapped in another dimension. This is a slow play game where there are no time pressures or enemies attacking you. There are also no negatives to crashing; you just restart the last place you landed. It makes for an interesting concept for a game, and there’s plenty of variety with the multiple worlds. An achievement system is nicely varied and provides progress info on each of the achievements. My current feeling is that this game has great potential but the graphics in the game’s landscape are a little flat. But for a relaxed, casual game, it does have something going for it. Approximate release date: April, 2009, $1.99
Mini-Golf: Wacky Worlds is a mini golf game set in four themed and very oddly interesting 3D worlds. This was the least finished of the games so we won’t make any critical remarks about it. It’s just not done yet. Approximate release date: Summer 2009
Thanks to Slide To Play for providing video of the first 4 games, embedded below.
One thing is for sure, Glu are one of the most popular and prolific mobile game developers. They have been a little slow on the uptake on the iPhone but are planning to go full force now. They haven’t tipped their hat to what they are doing in the social games area, the segment that the iPhone can really excel in, but assured us they just aren’t ready to talk about their plans there yet.
They have some exciting things coming with the above and beyond and we can’t wait to see what they do.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted January 28th, 2009 by Gary Lucero Our Rating: :: RECOMMENDED
With Jetset: A Game For Airports, the author's intention was to create a game that air travelers could pick up and play while waiting at the airport for their flights. It makes good on its intentions by using location services that allow you to unlock location specific souvenirs, which can then be shared with friends via Facebook. The game definitely has broader appeal than just for travelers though, with fast paced game play that is humorous and interesting.
Logitech has created a wired keyboard for the iPad which is the first one made specially for use in the classroom. The Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad is designed for easy connectivity by simply plugging it in, making it easier on students and teachers, and has a key lifespan of more than five million strokes. [...]