July 15th, 2011
Forward Thinking Vol. 35
Our weekly update, where we share what’s inspring us:
Sometimes less is more – especially when it comes to choosing one brand over another. Graham Button wrote an insightful article about the paradox of over-branding that often backfires on products – meaning too much choice can effectively scare off consumers. The article shows how over-saturating the market with brands and logos can paralyze consumers and prevent them from making engaged decisions. With this in mind, there’s even more reason to believe that transparency and product quality, rather than quantity, can help foster better experiences for consumers and brands alike.
Photovine from Google is a new (currently invite-only) iPhone app that brings a fun twist to photo sharing. Part game, part social network, Photovine users create photo threads called ‘vines’ that start with a single caption. As the teaser demonstrates, the caption “cute and fuzzy” can be interpreted in many different ways, from puppies and couples to a grizzly Zach Galifianakis doppelgänger. We’ll be curious to see how it fares against other photo-sharing services like Instagram and Path once it’s opened up to the public. At the very least, Photovine promises to offer some comedic relief to an otherwise monotonous practice.
MyBlockNYC uses interactive mapping to capture, organize, and filter personal video footage from around New York City. It features an integrated dashboard that lets you filter content based on time, location, and subject – allowing you to explore footage by a certain topic or a favorite neighborhood. By pulling all sorts of personal video together under one roof, it ultimately aims to create an organic, intimate view of the city – and a meaningful connection between all the individuals who live within it.
Jawbone, known for their Bluetooth headsets, has announced a new product called Up – a sensor-infused wristband designed to track the wearer’s habits and steer them toward a healthier lifestyle. It does this by automatically gathering data about how much the user moves, eats, and sleeps, which its smartphone app uses to provide small “nudges” to move the user toward making healthier habits. Beyond the wristband’s intriguing design, the product is a great step forward in integrating personal data with technology to intelligently create useful and realistic recommendations.
We love new ways of visualizing how information spreads across a population. This series of images by Eric Fischer combines data from social networking sites like Flickr and Twitter to create light-maps over different major cities, showing how geo-tagged tweets and Flickr shots look spread out over the terrain. Around New York, you’ll see Twitter is the dominant force, with Flickr posts trickling out across the more remote neighborhoods. From such a high vantage point, it’s a unique view of the way social networks have shaped and connected our society.