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Summary:

Counting calories isn’t normally fun, but a cool new iPhone app recently released manages to make the exercise entertaining and light. Meal Snap analyzes pictures of food taken with your iPhone’s camera, returns an approximate calorie count for each item and incorporates a social element.

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Counting calories isn’t fun, which you’ll know if you’ve tried it. But a cool new iPhone app released just last week actually manages to make the exercise entertaining and light, while still keeping it informative. Meal Snap analyzes pictures of food you take with your iPhone’s camera, and returns an approximate calorie count for each item.

The app represents somewhat of a departure for DailyBurn, the company behind its creation. DailyBurn, which was acquired by IAC  in 2010, is a social network that focuses on fitness and diet tracking, with an emphasis on community involvement and granular detail. Meal Snap, however, represents a slightly different approach, and one which DailyBurn CEO Andy Smith thinks will be easier to swallow for customers the company’s other products may have had more trouble reaching.

Smith says Meal Snap is part of an effort to create “fun, engaging products that help with behavioral change,” and DailyBurn has found, in taking the pulse of users, that’s the way to go in the future when it comes to health-focused apps. Health tracking is hard to maintain longterm with a high level of detail. Meal Snap is only one of a lot of different apps in the pipeline from DailyBurn based around the idea that simple, fun, focused apps are what customers are looking for, according to Smith.

Meal Snap, which sells for $2.99, doesn’t really tie-in much to DailyBurn’s own iPhone app or the site itself, but that’s sort of the point. It simply offers the ability to take a photo of food, add a caption (optional) and let the system find out how many calories it contains. The app also automatically keeps a daily log of your tracked meals, but there’s no sign-up process, and no real settings to fiddle with, although you can sign in to Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to share your snapped meals with those social networks. The photo logging element taps in to the recent success of apps like Instagram and Foodspotting, while still providing health information at the same time.

Meal Snap succeeds because it has few barriers to usage, and does one thing very well. Social networking features are a nice bonus, but they aren’t central to the app and no login is required at any point if that’s what a user prefers. Everything happens from one central screen, and meal identification can happen in the background after you exit the app. Smith thinks “apps that do one thing, and do them very well” best represent the direction we’re headed with mobile software, and after a few days using an app as simple, impressive and intuitive as Meal Snap, I’m inclined to agree.

 

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  1. As someone who has used almost EVERY single weight loss and diet iPhone app in the Health and Fitness Category. I can say that I was LESS THAN IMPRESSED with lose it app. I find myself half the time having to enter in a “custom food” because it’s not in their comprehensive database. frustrating, and then i stop using it because this happens day in an day out. In my opinion **THE BEST** iPhone diet app is hands down intelli-Diet! It just takes the thinking out of the equation and I just eat what it says. Down 12 pounds in a few weeks! I believe it’s sixty percent off now too so you should check it out before meal snap! http://bit.ly/intelli-Diet is their link.

    1. Where does the article mention LoseIt? Clearly spamming. Definitely won’t be downloading (especially for $3.99).

      I’ve downloaded Meal Snap and it’s worked well for me. Well worth the cost.

  2. This is a very generic question – there are hundreds of these utility apps – some very clean solutions to painful problems and some just nice to haves – what kind of consolidation are we looking at in the future for these apps ? or do we expect to hear “there is an app for that” a decade down the line?

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