YouVersion - the mobile bible application has today announced it has reached 30 Million installations on mobile devices since it's creation in 2008. The App not only has been installed across a massive range of devices all around the world, but is changing the way people are reading the Bible. App users have racked up over 11 Billion minutes reading the Bible over that time, just going to show that God's word is alive and well, mostly in the palms of people's hands.
This morning Google announced a new feature in Google News - Badges. The badges (as explained in the video above) are earned through reading around your topics of interest on Google News - i.e. the more you read on one subject the more likely you are to earn a badge - or add more "Stars" (Google love their stars) to that badge. These can then be shared through social networks (of course) and you can "connect" with others who read similar stuff.
This is yet another example of digital life that is being influenced by the "gamification" trend - the concept of turning previously private activities into to gaming experience where people are either rewarded socially or physically with a some kind of "capital" (If you are playing buzz-word-bingo whilst reading this post then you are likely doing very well by this point).
The question that this development has to beg of course, is do we really need to be incentivised in such a way to consume the world around us? As a world of fairly advanced adults with access to a rich and diverse media landscape, do we need the digital equivalent of being given a cookie for doing our homework? As much as I am pleased to say that this is another example of the "recommendation economy" at work - I do sometimes wonder if this is encouraging a culture of digital laziness - a condition of the millennial generation that is actively promoting the suspension of discernment, making us all follow the breadcrumbs of "Likes", +'s and RT's.
A nice use of augmented reality by GE at the Paris Air Show to demonstrate the inner workings of an engine. AR tech is creeping in all over the place recently and doing a sterling job at making seemingly complex or boring tech interesting and creative.
Augmented reality for many is a bit of strange term - not least because it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but because it is hard to define what is AR and isn't. The key is understanding that just because you can use AR - doesn't always mean you should.
Ask yourself - will the complexity of using an app / 3G / WiFi etc be heavily outweighed by the benefit of AR making what you are looking at:
- quicker to understand - does it give speedy access to hidden information
- easy to understand - does it illustrate a concept?
- more engaging - will it make people sit up and pay attention?
Bear in mind that there are few instances where creating AR will be worth doing just because it looks cool.
We have all had that moment of being stood in front of a set of train doors, or on a platform, or in line for the bus where rather than checking Facebook for the umpteenth time on our phones, we wish we could be doing something a little more productive. That insight, mixed with market intelligence is what led Tesco in Korea - to create a "Subway store".
Using billboard posters, emulating the shopping experience of walking down a supermarket aisle they have created a store that can be shopped using QR codes, scanned from your smart-phone. We have seen an explosion in QR codes in the publishing and events space, from delivering additional content from Wired to getting scannable tickets at the cinema, but few have made them successfully implement in the UK in the shopping environment, mostly due to the slower adoption of smart phones.
This seems like the obvious next step for QR codes and mobile commerce, the technology is now there and consumer adoption is growning - but will it take one of the bigger players - Tesco maybe - to bring it to the mums and the masses?
Over to you:
Have you actually bought something as a result of scanning a QR code?
How much do you shop by mobile?
Foursquare - the social media platform that brought us location based services - who in recent months have been playing second fiddle since the announcement and mass apotion of Facebook Places - have now announced they have reached 10 Million users. To mark the occasion they have released this lovely animated infographic.
If you ever wondered what it would be like if your life was turned into a museum exhibition then stop right now, put the credit card away and cancel that space at the Haywood - Intel have sorted it. Their new Museum of Me App - using Facebook connect, will visualise your social life as documented by your activity on the social network - and present it in a video of people wandering the halls of your life exhibit.
To quote Mashable on this one;
It’s kind of a creepy. The museum setting does make it seem a bit like you’ve passed on. And having your Facebook “experiences” stand in for your real life is sobering because it’s so sterile, especially when applied to the museum motif. And to top off the creepiness: There’s that music. The experience might make you reconsider your Facebook activity. Do I want to be remembered mostly for once having Liked a Louis C.K. video?
I see what they are getting at here - there is a slightly distanced element to the whole thing - but personally I found the experience quite moving - seeing friends faces amassed in a beautiful collage, seeing old "Likes" and videos you have shared recompiled in a crisp installation felt less narcissistic to me - and more of a spiritual reflection.
Having now been on Facebook for nearly 6 years, and being part of a generation of people who have been cataloguing life through it's servers (as scary as that may be to some) gives a great opportunity to reflect on one's past - to such a level of detail that before the site's dominance would just not be possible. Friends, relationships, loves and losses - it's all there, and the ability to scroll through and reflect on our own personal histories is a very cathartic and I think healthy experience.
A couple of weeks ago now I had a great opporunity to share some of my recent thinking on social media for the church - how it affects our attention, our understanding of truth and of relationships - with the wonderful people at All Saints Church, Peckham Below is the audio and slides of that night! Enjoy.