Are you the curious type that likes to know all the latest information? What’s happening in your city, wherever it may be, at whatever time you check? There’s an app for that, of course there is.
Whereabts is a social geomessaging service about to launch this Friday for people on the move, travelling or just those who love to share everything happening around them as it happens in a way that shows exactly where things are going on. I suspect such an innocent description hides a possibly explosive app.
Based around a map instead of an updating wall of text you can see what people are commenting about in any area. Interesting art, a traffic accident, great street musician, protest, picnic spot… the list is as long as your imagination; the thing that ties all these shared updates together is that they are geolocated and time centric so you can see exactly when and where something is going on easily on the app’s central map.
It would be great to have secure authentication everywhere we are online or whenever we hand over our devices over to our kids, but with it normally comes more friction than we might prefer in our day-to-day life. According to my bank, two-factor authentication means clumsy number cards to carry around in my wallet, and security for purchases in mobile games is just the standard phone password. With it comes a few problems, namely digging around your apartment to find the second factor in your two-factor authentication, or your kids getting their hands on a password and then racking up 100's of euros in in-app-purchases.
MePIN, the Finnish smartphone authentication startup, has just updated their product with a new release, and with it comes more applications of the system. The company was launched to provide a secure authentication system linked to a smartphone for online services, and now offers a wider platform for companies to take advantage of.
Is there room for another mobile messaging player? Jongla, the Helsinki-based messaging app, tells us they're seeing some initial traction as they try to break into the crowded messaging market. The app is available to download on iOS, Android, or on the web or other phones with HTML5, and is targeting the 15-24 market. The messaging features include sending photos, location information, and a notification system that lets you know when the other person is typing or if your message has been received. For registration, Jongla uses your address book to find contacts, rather than having you select a name for yourself.
One angle Jongla is using to appeal to their younger base is "stickers". Users can still use their emoji keyboards, but in addition to that, Jongla offers bigger, more personalized animated icons that serve the same purpose. These include a pandas, boys, girls, and my favorite - a sauna stove - all expressing a range of emotion.
Helsinki-based Jongla announces it has received €1.2 million funding from Tekes and private investors. In August, the company took its mobile messaging apps out of the App Store, Google Play, Get Jar and Windows Marketplace, with a promise that something new and better is coming in October. Right now it appears they're focusing on iOS, Android, and HTML5 for their free instant messaging solution.
Jongla has had a longer history than a lot of startups. When we first covered them first back in 2009, we remarked that they've been around since 2004 and were providing something in the mobile marketing space. In 2011, we covered them as a method to share multimedia files and text messages for feature phones. The service was free, but placed a small ad that was visible to recipients before they opened the message.