Posts Tagged ‘apps’

New Service to Open Source Custom URL Schemes for iOS Developers

13 Jun

Zwapp icon 150x150From the makers of mobile app discovery service Zwapp, there comes, a new initiative which aims to open source the unpublished custom URL schemes for iOS applications. For those unaware, a custom URL scheme is a way for apps to communicate with each other and do other smart things. For example, custom URL schemes allow other apps or Web pages to call the app, trigger it and send data to it, or even transfer data between lite and paid app versions.

Apple's built-in apps like Safari, the Phone app, the Messaging app, Email and others have URL schemes included by default. Developers using the iOS SDK can built their own, too. Unfortunately, though, there isn't a well-maintained master list of these custom URLs anywhere on the Web.


Because Zwapp wants to use the custom URL schemes for app detection purposes, it needs a master list like this to better function. But instead of building up such list in private, the company has launched an open source initiative to improve inter-app communications for all iOS developers, allowing everyone to contribute and benefit from the work.

How Works

The site went live just last week, and uses an open source Mac-only tool to scan your iTunes library in order to locate these custom URL schemes. The data that is scanned is uploaded to the site and is instantly accessible to all developers. No personal or private data is scanned or made public, says Alexander van Elas, Zwapp's founder.

Zwapp app schemes

Already, over 8,300 apps had been donated to this project by the end of last week, and as of this morning, that number has climbed to 9,517.  As awareness grows, even more apps should come soon.

To access the data, Zwapp has made a JSON API available to developers. The list is also available on the website for manual perusal and searching.

In Zwapp's App

At present, Zwapp does not use the data from OneMillionApps in its iOS application, which scans your device to determine what apps are on your phone so you can share those with friends. Currently, it only detects 25-50% of the apps you have installed on its first run, and more are found as you start using the app. However, the scan results from the new service will be included in Zwapp shortly and this will lead to much better first-run scores, van Elas explains.

In the meantime, developers or end users wishing to contribute to the project can do so here.



Google Products You Probably Don’t Know

03 May

Google search engine is one of the best product by Google, but there are many other innovative products as well that Google is developing them in  their so-called Google Labs. Many of these products are still in beta stage, but are really useful. Today I’m going to share some of the lesser known products from Google, which can help you. Some of them may even surprise you as you might not even heard about them and yet they’re so useful.

1. Related Links

In WordPress you have used various plugins to show related pages to your post, Related Links from Google does the same thing it generate the list of related pages to the current page & display it to the user. Related Links works using Google search, it uses keyword for your title to search your site for related content & display them on your website. Currently this product is in limited to invited users only & you can ask for invitation by sending mail to [email protected]

2. Follow Finder

There are many to tools to find followers on Twitter, but very few tools to find users with similar interest. Follow Finder helps you to find users on Twitter, based on similar interest, mutual followers, users with similar followers & users following similar list to help you identify potential Twitter followers you should follow.

3. Browser Size

Browser Size is a really useful tool for web designer & developer, as it helps them to visualize what part of their websites it getting maximum attention from users. You just need to enter your URL & your website will be segmented using a semi-transparent color layer describing users attention to different segment of your website.

4. Page Speed

As website loading time becomes one of the factors in ranking your websites in Google search engine, you need to know how fast your websites loads. There are many tools for doing that but you surely want to consider what Google thinks. Page Speed is such tool recently made available online by Google where you can check the loading time for your website.

5. Aardvark

Last year Google acquired Aardvark, It’s not just question-answer site for professional, but anyone get help here, the best thing about Aardvark is you get answers to most of the questions in few minutes, I have tried it my self & was surprised to see how fast was my questions got answered. Another great feature about Aardvark is it will deliver you answer to your mail or GTalk.

6. Experimental Search

Google Experimental Search have offers three services +1 Button, Keyboard Shortcut & Accessible view. The only problem with all this features is you can’t use them all at once, that is you use this feature one at time.

+1 Button

+1 Button is a kind of recommending Google search results to your friends, so when anyone in your friend searches Google, your recommendation will appear in search results.

Keyboard Shortcuts

This is really useful feature, I think Google should implement it to the normal search results, as it helps users to navigate between searches using keyboard shortcuts.

Accessible View

Accessible view adds to more feature to Keyboard Shortcuts it does everything the Keyboard Shortcuts does in addition to that it help you to navigate from one page to other using keyboard & magnifies the search results as you browse through them.

7. Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp is 3D modelling software which helps you to create 3D models easily or you can just download available 3D models from Google 3D warehouse & start editing them

8. Image Swirl

Most of you have used Google Image to find some quality images, but when it come to searching similar images using a standard keyword it get difficult. Image Swirl uses your generic query & group down images related to those queries into different search results, as for example if you are searching for “Design” it will groups images in website design, logo design & graphic design, hence making simpler for user to search for related images with a single query.

9. Art Project

This tool is helpful for artist around the world, as it let them explore museums from around the world & view hundred of art work from the comfort of their home. You can view various paintings in detail & explore various museums.

10. Google Scholar

Want to do some good research? Then forget conventional Google search and use Google Scholar, as it will search for scholarly literature from various sources like

academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories & more so you get more prevalent results & find really things that are really useful.

11.Google In Quotes

Google In Quotes uses Google News to find quotes of political figures. You can search for different keywords & see what have been quoted about it by different political figures.

12. YouTube 3D Video Converter

Create your own 3D videos using YouTube 3D Video converter, its easy & simple you just need to two camera to capture the video & upload them it’s that easy. You can also find the detail guide on here

13. Transit

Using Google Transit you can find about various public transit available in your area, with information about schedules, timing to reach the destination & route the transit systems takes.

14. Google APIs

Want to know about various APIs Google offers, here the periodic table of different APIs offered by Google.

15. Google Apps

Work Smarter with Google Apps as it offers easy communication & sharing data. I have been using Google Apps for more than 2 years now & it has been hassle free operation. The free package is boon to small businesses as it offers 50 free custom emails setup, but after 10 May it’s going to change to 10 users only.

If you have been using any of the above listed products, then do share your experiences on working with them in the comment section.


Why Every Brand Needs an Open API for Developers

04 Jan

Adam Kleinberg is co-founder and CEO at Traction, an interactive agency that aligns psychology with technology to create ideas that work. Catch him tweeting at @adamkleinberg and blogging at

The most effective ads today are experiences that provide value to customers. The biggest challenge is providing that value at scale in a world where people are empowered to consume media on their own terms through a dizzying array of gadgets, devices and doodads.

This puts marketers between a rock and a hard place.

For years, marketers have distributed messages to people with banner ads, which are like a rock that we throw at people with the dim hope that we’ll knock them upside the head. These rocks provide no value whatsoever.

Today, we’ve figured out how to create value — apps. Figuring out how to create utility is no easy path. Indeed, it is a “hard place” to reach.

But the reward is so great because with that app comes a deep and meaningful relationship with your customer — a new platform for your brand to foster long-term engagement with your target. And you are no dummy — you’ve even got a plan and a budget to drive downloads of your app. Bases are covered. What could go wrong?

We Already Have an App. What Could Go Wrong?

Application downloads look great in an ROI report, but when you take into account the proliferation of digital devices entering the market, the cost of producing unique brand experiences across all of them is exorbitant. You could spend a boatload of money creating and distributing this app only to have no one use it.

That’s what could go wrong.

Brand APIs as Value Platforms

Ironically, it is because of this proliferation of devices that the overall demand for content and utility is increasing. Brands should create value in the form of content and utility and distribute it via platforms that extend in reach beyond proprietary channels.

Apps are just channels. To establish value platforms, I propose that brands should consider creating their own APIs.

What is an API? An API, or application programming interface, is a hook. It’s one part of a software program that makes it easy for other programs to make use of a piece of its functionality or content. When APIs are made open, they can be accessed and used by anyone.

Facebook has APIs. Twitter has an API. Google has APIs out the wazoo. Why don’t brands have APIs? Well they should.

With APIs, you let other developers do your R&D for you. The benefit? You get development at scale with minimal investment. You effectively outsource risk because failures don’t cost you anything.

Brands need to think like startups. They must devise experiences that not only meet the demands of content and utility that audiences crave, but that are readily consumable in bite-sized chunks so that audiences can devour them on their own terms — and developers can serve them on theirs.

This last point is critical because it allows innovation to happen rapidly and without sustained investment.

“It Doesn’t Make Sense for My Brand”

kraft app image

“Not my brand,” you say. It’s easy to envision how brands whose core business revolves around technology or data could make use of an API. eBay has APIs that allow developers to access their database so they can create new and innovative ways to buy and sell merchandise. Netflix had more than 6,000 developers download its API to participate in its $1 million innovation competition. But what about the rest of us?

First, interfaces are becoming core to the fabric of more and more brands and products. Soon, you’ll have breakfast in the morning and there will be an interface on your refrigerator. You’ll hop in your car and there will be another interface. You drive to the airport, jump on a plane and voila… another interface. All of those interfaces are opportunities for brand APIs.

What if you sell macaroni and cheese? Kraft recently released a behemoth of an application for the iPad called Big Fork Little Fork that is filled with games, recipes and videos to help parents teach their kids about healthy eating and discover ways to do so using Kraft products. A worthy goal, but does it sell Kraft products? I downloaded it two months ago, but neither I nor my kids regularly use the app.

Imagine if Kraft released a simple API that allowed people to type in any ingredient and get back a list of healthy recipes from Kraft’s database? As new form factors emerge (like that refrigerator interface), independent developers could create new distribution mechanisms in a fraction of the time Kraft could — and without the cost.

What’s more, a company like Safeway could use that API to create its own app tied to their grocery delivery service. Customers could have all the ingredients in a selected recipe delivered to their front door. That would sell Kraft products.

APIs to Spread Utility

evian imageBrands could also create APIs to allow for the spread of utility. Here are some examples for major brands. Nike could create a “Just size it” API that allowed you to take a picture of your foot and find the perfect shoe size. How would they distribute it? Let their resellers figure that out. Evian could create a hydration API that calculated how much people really ought to drink each day and then reminded them to do so. Netflix created an API so developers could come up with better ways to make movie recommendations. Why couldn’t wine company Constellation Brands create an API so developers could come up with better ways to make wine recommendations?

Note that any of these ideas could make use of an app as a delivery mechanism for their API, but their underlying value comes first. By providing access to that value through an API, they would allow the delivery of that value to spread exponentially.

Sure, ideas aren’t always obvious or easy to come by. They never have been. That’s why some advertising works and some doesn’t. Today, ideas that actually work are even harder to devise. We must not only understand the psychology of why an idea will work, but how they will work. Rather than truly gaining an understanding of the latter, many marketers fall prey to a disease called “Shiny Object Syndrome.” They follow the pack and slip the latest shiny object into their marketing plans. Last year, it was a Facebook Page. This year, it’s an app.

Before you grab for that shiny object, ask yourself what you’re really trying to accomplish and how best to make that happen. The best answer may not be an app. It may be an API.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook Insights for Small Business
- Why the Fashion Industry Is Betting Big on Branded Online Content
- Top 10 Digital Advertising Innovations of 2010
- 5 Predictions for the Public Relations Industry in 2011
- 7 Stellar Examples of Branded Content from the Fashion Industry

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, enot-poloskun

Reviews: Apps, Facebook, Google, Twitter, iStockphoto

More About: api, App, apps, brand, business, MARKETING, small business

For more Business coverage:


I have found the cognitive surplus, and it hates pigs

29 Dec

2008: Clay Shirky, outlining the basic idea that would become his book Cognitive Surplus:

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project — every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in — that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus.

2010: Hillel Fuld, citing data from Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio, the Finnish company behind the hit game Angry Birds:

Another mind boggling statistic about Angry Birds, and you should sit down for this one, is that there are 200 million minutes played a day on a global scale. As Peter put it, that number compares favorably to anything, including prime time TV, which indicates that 2011 will be a big year in the shift of advertisers’ attention from TV to mobile.

Some math: 200 million minutes a day / 60 minutes per hour * 365 days per year = 1.2 billion hours a year spent playing Angry Birds.

Or, if Shirky’s estimate is in the right ballpark, about one Wikipedia’s worth of time every month.

Just a lighthearted reminder that, even if the lure of the connected digital world gets people to skimp on the Gilligan’s Island reruns, that doesn’t necessarily mean their replacement behaviors will be any more productive. They could instead bring an ever greater capacity for distraction and disengagement and slingshot precision.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple more levels to get three stars on.

[Aside: Note that Angry Birds still has a long way to go to catch up to television: 200 billion hours a year vs. 1.2 billion hours. And the TV number is U.S. only, while the Angry Birds one is global.]


Word Lens augmented reality app instantly translates whatever you point it at

16 Dec

Augmented reality
and optical character recognition have just come into their own, beautifully intertwined into an instant translation app for the iPhone. Download Word Lens, pay $4.99 for a language pack, then point it at a sign and watch as it replaces every word with one in your native tongue. It's a little bit like Pleco, but without the whole language learning stuff. We just gave it a spin, and while it's not quite as accurate as this video claims, it's still breathtaking to behold -- especially as it doesn't require an internet connection to do any lookup. Sadly, it only translates to and from English and Spanish for now. Still, Babelfish, eat your heart out.

Update: Looks like it only works on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the latest iPod touch for now.

Word Lens augmented reality app instantly translates whatever you point it at originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 17 Dec 2010 00:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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