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Summary:

As smart as our phones are becoming, they’re actually dumb too: they capture tons of information but don’t make it easy to find. Friday, a new Android app in private alpha, solves that problem by tying together smartphone events in the context of time and location.

friday-app-featured

As the public adopts smartphones and uses them for more activities, you’d think it would be easy to capture all of those events, aggregate them and make them searchable. I did something like this when on a family vacation to Washington, D.C., for example, creating a mashup of all of the places we visited by combining Foursquare data with Google Maps. But the general public isn’t likely to go out of their way to do the same. A new Android app in private alpha from Dexetra, called Friday, may be the answer to get all the different events captured with a smartphone to create a digital journal in a way that’s easy to set up and manage.

I’m working on getting my own invite to the alpha, but for now, I’m fascinated by the pre-release description of the app, as well as some hands-on impressions my friend Amit Agarwal shared today on his blog. He sums up the functionality of Friday:

Imagine if you could keep a log of everything that you do on your mobile phone. The phone calls that you make (or receive), your emails and text messages, the various places that you visit, and even the music tracks that you listen to on your phone. Friday, a new app for Android based mobile phones, will help you do exactly that without any hassle. I have been using this app for a few weeks now and it does help find information easily that otherwise would have taken lot of effort and time.

At first glance, I suspect many readers will be taken aback by how intrusive the software can be as it captures all smartphone activities in the background. It’s a valid concern. But the Internet, combined with smartphones and mobile broadband devices, is pushing us slowly in this direction. The way I see it, we can fight the change unsuccessfully or we can cautiously embrace it. You might not ever subscribe to providing a greater amount of information to the cloud, but within reason, I’m willing to bet your kids will. It’s just a matter of time before more of your personal data is more online than offline. It may take years or decades yet, but it will happen for most.

That philosophical debate aside, what does Friday do and why would you want it? The Android app is clever, not only because it captures your smartphone and app usage profile, but makes it searchable and ties together events with the context of both location and time. Want to see all of the conversations you had with a particular contact? No problem. Curious what you did and where you were on a certain day in the past? Friday has you covered. Planning a trip and want to associate all of the events to the excursion? Friday supports automatic tagging, which you could enable for a “Family Vacation 2011″ tag before leaving and disable upon your return home. The software also includes analytics to gain insights on how many calls you take or make at various times of the day.

 

Essentially, all of the information that the Friday app captures is already available on your phone; the software simply aggregates these events and makes them searchable. Call it a smartphone journal that composes its own entries. And it’s a journal that really can’t be build on a non-mobile platform when you think about it. Unless you have your laptop powered on, have constant access to locations services at all times, and use the device for all of your computing and voice activities throughout the day, the smartphone (or maybe a small tablet) is the only platform an app like Friday can really exist upon.

Hopefully, I’ll have an invite to Friday soon, so I can take it for a test drive. Regardless, I expect many similar apps to follow over the next year. Why? Because we’re collectively creating a growing amount of data over time and that can easily lead to information overload. Intelligent software such as Friday, my6Sense and others like reQall Rover can help cut through the data clutter by indexing or surfacing important information without raising our stress levels. Yes, that could mean enabling devices to capture our every move, but that’s a price I’m personally willing to pay for easier access to the data I’m looking for.

  1. Now, if this opens an API to build a launched/shell off of it, and it automatically learns the entirety of your mobile and adapts to you, then this data becomes self-empowering (the realization of the BetaLabs Nokia Bots app)

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    1. We are actually working on building a shareable curated “sandboxed” API system so that others can make use of Friday data, at the same time ensure 3rd parties don’t pry on your private information.

      -Narayan
      CEO, Dexetra.

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  2. It seems like mobile’s future is in data collection (and its success in what in can do with that data, either for the mobile user or for advertising/marketing purposes). I’d imagine that most people don’t realize how much data their mobile device can collect. In fact, there was a story recently in the NY Times about a German politician suing his phone company for the data it stored re: his mobile.

    This future seems inevitable though, and I agree with you when you say that we may have to “cautiously embrace” it. Either you use it for your benefit, or someone else will use it for theirs.

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  3. Privacy IS going to be the next big thing in mobile, witness today’s WSJ article as “proof” that the carriers & Google/Apple/MS/RIM are going to have to modify their policies, sooner rather than later, or risk having the Federal Government come down on them like the proverbial “ton of bricks”!

    The article can be found here:
    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703806304576242923804770968-lMyQjAxMTAxMDAwNDEwNDQyWj.html

    The “good news” is there is a viable solution for this “issue”: 3P Mobile from 5O9, Inc., currently in limited “beta” allows the USER to determine WHO, WHAT & WHERE to share their “meta data” with!

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  4. It seems like an interesting way to aggregate data. Is it possible to disconnect the information you save from the cloud? I wouldn’t want all this sort of access available outside of the device itself.

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