Ideas of the week 14th-Oct-2011

This week’s post for the Ideas of the week featuring ideas that might change our world.

1. An app that gives you recommendations on local places to visit based on photos
Travel+Mobile App

Biz Stone’s Trazzler gives recommendations on places to visit within driving distance based on a photo questionnaire, more




2. ‘Hangout Academy’ Brings Learning to Google+
Education+Social Networking

After the birth of Google+, educators began dreaming up ways it wouldchange the education space. College professors are using the “Hangout” video chat software to host office hours, students are collaborating in virtual study groups, and soon, curious folks who aren’t in school may be able to take classes on the social network. more


3. Your Photos As Stories: Tracks Goes After The ‘Experience Graph’ With New iOS App

In May, a startup named Tracks debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC offering a photo sharing app that enables users to turn their images into stories. more




4. Why you should doodle

Sunni Brown at TED talks about why you should doodle at workplace. more




5.Tech Innovations That Could Change the Developing World

Tech Innovation+Developing World

Across the developing world, new technologies are helping to distribute resources for education, connectivity and health far and wide. more




This week’s post compiled by Nitish Sharma

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The Ladies’ Oracle


To all those interested in the occult, worried about the future or belonging to the female gender, I have some exciting news. Ideafarms is proud to present its first android game ‘The Ladies’ Oracle’. The Ladies’ Oracle is a fun game that never fails to give accurate answers to any question asked. Originally a book by the same name, the game comes equipped with answers to over 95 questions that every girl of every age wants to know.

Men and women alike are often curious of the unknown and ask questions like;“When will I get married?”, “Will I have any children?”,“What does the future have in store for me?”. The infallible prophet “Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa”, had long ago worked out a fascinating mechanism to help you arrive at the answer to these questions which he had compiled in the original classic book by the same name – The Ladies Oracle. The book has been for years considered the perfect bible for every woman out in the world.

The Android game by Ideafarms has been designed to preserve the authenticity and enigma of the book while adding an element of fun and mystery to make it more engaging for the user.

Ask a question, choose a symbol, and get your answer. It’s that simple! Scroll through the list of questions and you’re bound to find one that suits your fancy. (Psst: The game also has a jump index bookmark thingy that makes it easy to browse questions.)

Once you’ve found a question you like, you are taken to a shape selection page, where 16 figures are moving randomly around a grid. Just tap a block to select a shape. Your destiny is in your own hands, because it is the shape selected that determines the outcome of your fate.

Spend some time trying out its features. The game never ceases to amaze you. For some answers, the Oracle will even suggest a charm or ritual. You can even choose to keep it to yourself, or share the answer with your friends through e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

Though there are some unlucky days, during which it is not advised to consult the Oracle, and it is not considered prudent to ask the same question twice in one day, you need not worry about it as the game is designed to help you out there.

Hard to put down, the game promises to be your constant companion, be it an important meeting, a lazy Sunday afternoon, or a fun filled slumber party.

So girls, go to the android market now and download this game. This one is for you.

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Pho2Greet – Bringing the charm of Picture Postcards to Android

Picture yourself standing on top of a mountain peak, completely in awe of that breathtaking view, wishing that somehow you could share this moment with your loved ones – Show them the view, tell them how you feel. We know how that feels, which is why we came up with the idea of a personalised photo greeting application.

Timed nicely for a Friendship Day launch, Ideafarms very proudly brings to you our first Android application – Pho2Greet. Just a day old and we are already overwhelmed by the response we have got. A big Thank You to all of you for that :-).

With Pho2Greet, we hope to bring back the old-school charm of sending picture postcards. What’s different is that now you can personalise the picture and the message in the greeting. Simply click a photo right then and there, or select an existing one from the gallery, add a message on top of it and send it to your friends. The beauty is in the speed & simplicity with which you can share a personalised greeting with your friends.

Pho2Greet – Simply click a picture, add a message and share with friends.










Pho2Greet also has a live editor to customise the color, size and font of your message.

Live Text Editor in Pho2Greet













The application has also been architected beautifully for you to be able to save your greetings to edit later. You can share the same greeting with many friends, customise the message for different friends and/or even change the picture while keeping the message the same in each greeting.

We would love it if you will share with us any interesting greetings you make using the application. Do share the greetings on our facebook wall –> or you can twitpic them to us @Ideafarms

We also hope you will keep sharing your feedback – both good and bad. While the encouragement keeps us going, the critique helps us improve.

The application is available for download through the Android Market and is absolutely free. Have fun Pho2Greeting! :-).

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Neutralising Applethink

Neutralising AppleThink
Watch out Apple! App publishers choose to go the web-app way instead.

In my previous post about the Smartphone wars -“ Android vs Apple – I had touched upon the point that some people feel that Apple may have adopted a rather restrictive approach when it comes to their devices and the app store.  While consumers have to get used to downloading apps from the Apple store, the deal is not so sweet for the app publishers.

This is what a recent HBR post says –

An interesting battle is looming over Apple’s newspaper and magazines subscription pricing for iOS devices (notably the iPad). Apple’s offer to publishers is simple. They can offer an app that allows consumers to buy individual issues of their content or to subscribe to it from within the app; the publisher sets the pricing. But Apple will take a 30 percent cut of the revenues and it will also require the publisher not to undercut the price offered to iPad app users.

Which is why we now see newspaper and magazine publishers – the likes of Playboy and Financial Times – coming up with an interesting way of bypassing the Apple App Store. These gutsy app publishers have chosen to make iPad optimised websites rather than apps that are downloadable only through the Apple app-store. While for Playboy it might be that they do not qualify for Apple’s strict no-nudity policy, for FT, in their own words –

Firstly, the HTML5 FT Web App means users can see new changes and features immediately. There is no extended release process through an app store and users are always on the latest version.

Secondly, developing multiple ‘native’ apps for various products is logistically and financially unmanageable. By having one core codebase, we can roll the FT app onto multiple platforms at once.

Well Playboy’s and FT’s reasoning does seem to be sound from the user’s perspective too. While with the use of HTML 5, there is close to no compromise on the experience of the app – you can still touch,  swipe and flick your way through the app – the user is also not forced to get tied down to a medium and can access the same content on any device via the mobile web app route. This is also perhaps clear writing on the wall for Apple on exactly what they are doing wrong by having such a strong control over their app store. Clearly where Android seems to be scoring higher points.

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Smartphone Wars

Wanting to buy a touch-screen smartphone, I asked the good people on Twitter for their help in choosing between an iPhone 4 and a Galaxy S 2 and was overwhelmed by the number of responses in favor for Android! There is no denying the kind of support / backing Android has managed to get over such a short period of time. Surely they must be doing something right. Was discussing this with boss-man and I got a smile as an answer. He had of course, yet again predicted this a while back.

So what is it that Android is doing so right, or Apple doing so wrong? The 2 very strong viewpoints I got were –
1. Android is much more configurable. It gives the power in the hands of the user. AND it’s cheaper! “Why throw away your money on iPhone when you can get something just as good much cheaper.”
2. While there is no denying the User Experience of the iPhone devices, a lot of people seem to find the Apple way of working rather restrictive. Even the store manager at a store in Saket said (and I paraphrase) – “iPhone does not give you the flexibility of sharing data. No bluetooth. You can only transfer data to your device using iTunes. And you can sync your device with only one pc at a time or risk losing all your data.”

The restrictiveness of the Apple-way also comes to the fore when we see their strong control over the app store and their continued resistance towards Flash (Adobe). App publishers like Playboy and Financial Times are now coming up with innovative ways of bypassing Apple’s restrictiveness – which may also be quite beneficial for the end users actually. I will try and cover that in another post though.

Lifehacker has also compared the 2 OS from the perspective of a ‘Power User’ in this post.

Apple vs Android (source: Lifehacker)

While the Apple vs Android debate may continue, Ideafarms is backing Android for now. We also welcome your opinion on the topic. Do let us know which phone / OS you prefer and why. You can also join the discussion here –>

[As for me, I might still end up getting an iPhone but that’s because it’s an old itch I have to scratch. Although I must admit I almost changed my mind 5 times while writing this post :D]

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Use of Augmented Reality for marketing – still a long way to go for India

At Select City Walk (A mall in Delhi) in the main atrium where the regulars would know that they tend to have cars on display, yesterday the car that was displayed was the Ford Fiesta. But there was something different this time and what caught my attention were these big round red booths with an iPad attached to each. Excited to get a first-hand taste of Augmented Reality, all thoughts of meeting my waiting friends escaped my mind and I decided to give this a shot, only to come out extremely disappointed.

Ford Fiesta iPad Booth at Select City Walk – No magic happening here!

So the red booths were spread in a circle around the car displayed in the centre and the iPad in each was pointing towards the car. The so-called iPad app in the car was nothing more than a website adapted for the iPad’s interactions [iPad 1.0 if I may] which was in no way whatsoever utilising the vehicle kept right in front of it. The maximum extent of interactivity available in the app was that you could rotate the car 360 degrees. (I wonder which genius thought that one up since the car was right there in front of you to walk around.) The feature listing was again in a very website format and I was very disappointed because what I had imagined was that you could walk around the car with an iPad in your hand and some “magic” would happen. I asked the guy who was helping you interact with the app there (can you imagine an iPad app that someone has to help you use?!) if the iPad had an Augmented Reality app. He goes, “Ma’am I’ve never heard the term!”

Wondering which company had developed this app, I headed to Google and what I found instead was this video link to another Ford Fiesta iPad app.

Now even this app (not AR) by the same company, is far more interesting and better executed than what I saw yesterday.

And of course we have all seen the oh-so-many marvelous examples of how Augmented Reality is actually used to boost the experience at a car booth.

A few thoughts that come to mind with which I will sum up –

1. Marketers need to understand the real potential of the devices and the technology they are using to be able to come up with truly valuable ideas. Anything else is just a gimmick and more often than not would leave the user feeling irritated thus negating the entire experience that you so painstakingly created for them.

2. India still has a lot of catching up to do as far as tech innovation is concerned – especially in the advertising and marketing space. Infact I wonder if we will ever get there. I don’t know whether the blame lies on the “idea guys” who are pretty much still clueless or the marketing folk who remain tight-fisted and are not willing to part with the moolah. My guess is that it’s a bit of both.

Ideafarms going mobile

Having seen some cool examples of Mobile applications and especially those using Location Based Services and Augmented Reality, we had been tossing around quite a few ideas of our own. We didn’t want to lose the enthusiasm or some of those precious ideas. So we decided to finally do something about it. One fine day, four of us locked ourselves in the conference room and brainstormed the day away. The result was a bunch of ideas which range from simple utility apps, to location-based apps (some of which apply specifically to the India context) and some fun game ideas [afterall, all work and no play… 😉 ].

Going Mobile

As far as the Location-Based apps go, we are excited about creating valuable services based around the current context of the user. We have worked on such concepts in combination with social-media platforms for social innovation in the past. What is exciting about the mobile platform is that such information would be accessible to the user on the go.

To test the waters, we have decided to kick-off with a pilot project which will be a location-based app on the Android platform (later to be extended to other platforms). Similar apps may already exist — we can further add value using our Rapid Prototyping and UI Design capabilities to design a seamless experience for the user.

If any of this sounds exciting, feel free to reach out. Be it to join our team, or to contribute more ideas, or to volunteer to be a guinea pig (read test user) or simply collaborate with us. We are always looking for exciting ideas and excited people. :)

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