Sunday 23 November 2014

Spotlight on: The app revolution - getting more clever

Published 11/07/2014 | 02:30

In the early days of Smartphones, apps like Shazam listened to songs for us and told us what they were, eliminating the need to google snatched lyrics or ask our mates.

You can now order a takeaway online in a minute without having to have cash on you, check the weather anywhere in the world and stream pretty much any song you can think of thanks to services like Spotify, all straight from your mobile device.

Then things got even more clever. Hailo was the first taxi app in a busy Irish market, but some such apps should be used with care. Unlike some of its competitors, Hailo finds only licensed, registered taxis in your area.

Then Uber upped the game, using similar technology to bring town cars to your door instead of regular ol' cabs, but has now branched out even further with its own taxi service, the USP, being that you can only pay by card.

Hassle is the latest app/website to attempt to make our everyday lives that bit easier. Shortlisted for the Europas 'Best Lightweight Startup 2013', it describes itself as "The quick, easy and reliable way to manage and pay for trusted, pre-vetted cleaners". It allows users to pay a flat €12/hr rate for local cleaners and eliminates cash through an online payment system. Users can seek a refund or a 're-clean' if they are unhappy with the service. Users must provide cleaning materials and book 36 hours in advance.

TripAdvisor not only allows users to see where to stay and what to do in their desired locations, but boasts the functionality to make reservations at restaurants through the app – removing the need to call the restaurant.

It could be argued that these apps make the user lazy – unwilling to take personal responsibility for things that can be automated on their smartphone. For example, the Commit app helps you to keep your New Year resolutions. The user types in what they want to achieve and the app reminds them everyday. It sounds like it could get pretty irritating but it allows the user to take a backseat on their own decisions. There's even an app to find the best app. AppsFire lets you know what the best apps are for what you're interested in, so you can be aware of the next 'Air BnB' before you know it.

APP-etiser

No idea what an app is? Fear not! App simply means 'application', and refers to a computer program which can be downloaded to your mobile device, for a particular purpose – from finding your nearest hairdresser to ordering food

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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