Kleenex Flu-Prediction Tool


Kleenex has launched a tool that will predict the course of the next cold and flu season.

To access the tool, users visit MyAchoo.com and enter their postal code to get a prediction of how likely their neighbourhood is to get the flu in the next three weeks. The prediction tool is proprietary and compiled using data from the US Centers for Disease Control.

Kleenex will also be using data from the algorithm to plot a route for a promotion and publicity tour across the US. The tour, called Kleenex Checkpoints, will start in Chicago, the worst hit city for winter colds and flus last year.

Why I’m Curious

This is a useful application of big data. Users benefit from the predictive nature of the tool, allowing them to track the cold and flu season, ideally taking more preventive measures (i.e., purchasing Kleenex products). Additionally, Kleenex is benefiting from the data collected in the process, allowing them to better track ROI on those hyper-targeted promotional efforts. It will be interesting to see how accurate the tool is in its predictions, and if this data generates an increase in revenue for the brand.


Virtual Pride Parade


In June 2012, Moscow courts ruled to uphold a ban on Pride marches for the next 100 years. So in honor of Gay Pride Month this past June, NYCPride and RUSA LGBT created a virtual parade at VirtualPride.org to support Russia’s LGBT community.

To show support, users could send a tweet with hashtag #virtualpride. As the 2.02 mile New York City Pride parade proceeded on June 30, the march’s progress was mapped virtually onto a Google Maps street view of a 2.02 mile route through Moscow. The tweet would then appear in a voice bubble along the sidelines of the online parade route.

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 6.04.48 PM

Why I’m Curious

One of the defining aspects of social media is the power to foster community. I like how this project uses social to unite a Global community of supporters around a cause. By design, the project relies on social engagement to create the full experience.

As we continue to see the roll digital/social media plays in galvanizing sociopolitical movements around he world, it’s interesting to see how these mediums are employed to amplify the voice of the people.

J.Cole Hosts Private Album Listening Sessions in 8 Cities


It’s fairly common for an artist to try to generate some excitement around a new album before it’s released. Listening parties are just one of the ways they do it, but in the past, the parties are usual reserved for the press, record reps, and other VIPs. But last night, J.Cole tried something new and offered an exclusive stream of his upcoming album, Born Sinner at eight locations across the U.S.

The parties were revealed earlier this week in a blog post with exact coordinates of locations in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Houston, Los Angeles and Cole’s native Fayetteville, North Carolina. To actually tune into the stream, fans needed to download the LISNR app which connected them to a livestream beginning at 8PM EST.

Why I’m Curious

I’ve seen plenty of listening parties online – but the experience changes a lot when can interact with other fans listening to the music for the first time. Overall, the process could probably be a bit smoother (fans had to prepare for this listening party!), but 1,000s of fans responded to his tweets announcing the sessions. I’m curious to see how the J.Cole leveraged the actual location (and all the fans that showed up). But also how fans coming in groups could help power something like this in the future.

Adidas Gives Marathoners a ‘Boost’ By Using Their Own Energy to Motivate Them

Adidas’ new Boost shoe has a special quality: it gives back energy during your run, with a special mid-sole that uses what you put into your workout to benefit you later. So to communicate this, brand created a Chilean marathon campaign that converted footfalls into energy into messages of support.

adidas boost

At the expo where runners had to go to register for the race, special mats took the energy from the footfalls. That energy was then used to help them run — as it powered to display motivational messages during the last (and hardest) leg of the race.

Why Am I Curious?

It is a long-winded way to make a point, but I think with the increasingly nebulous claims athletic brands make, it is a great way to bring the technology to life in a way that forges an emotional connection and hopefully makes Adidas more top of mind when it comes to running shoes. I believe this can be particularly impactful for the ‘lay man’ runner who may not want to decipher the plethora technological promises that different shoes offer.

Online game demonstrates where urban dwellers seek privacy

A new online game from BMW Guggenheim Lab called Public/Private explores the topic of privacy in cities by focusing on where it is sought out by city dwellers. Users pin areas where they seek privacy and how often, creating a unique visual graph that can be compared with results from other people in the same city, as well as from cities around the world.

Public/Private is an extension of two research projects conducted over the past seven months as part of the BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai. These explored the meaning and character of privacy for residents of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Public/Private, which was designed and developed by the New York-based design studio Collective Assembly, invites users to share their expectations of privacy as experienced in a variety of spaces, like home, work, and play. The responses produce a visual graph and as more feedback is gathered, a complex picture of privacy in urban settings will emerge.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 3.58.33 PM

Follow this link to play: http://www.bmwguggenheimlab.org/publicprivate/

source: http://www.psfk.com/2013/04/online-privacy-game.html


“Making Cities More Usable” – Dennis Crowley on Foursquare at SXSW

A lot of people might think of Foursquare as that checkin app with badges and leader boards and finding out where your friends are. But it’s a lot more than that now, thanks to all the map data and information that they know about places people are going to.

In a conversation onstage at SXSW with Anil Dash, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley discussed the company’s evolution from an app that was primarily focused around helping people to find their friends, to finding out more about the world that they live in.

Crowley said that one of the underreported stories is the number of companies that rely on Foursquare’s map data and what developers can potentially do with that. The place database has more than 50 million places of interest in it, and it changes frequently. Users enter new places as soon as they open up, and signal places that have closed down.

When talking about the map data that it has, Crowley compared Foursquare’s check-ins to Google’s web crawlers scanning the Internet for new websites. “People tell us about the places that are interesting, the places that are no longer interesting,” he said.

More importantly, the company isn’t entirely dependent on just its users anymore for a lot of its data. Thanks to the Foursquare API, the company gets location data from lots of different apps. For instance, every Instagram picture that has a location attached to it sends a data signal to Foursquare about that place of interest.

At the end of the day, the data that Foursquare has is the ability to provide more personalized maps than what is available today. Crowley said that maps haven’t really changed that much since people started making them, but now that we have certain amounts of trending data or interest data, Foursquare could help make the places that people see more meaningful to them.

Crowley likened that to Harry Potter’s “Marauders Map” and how it provides Harry with details about the people and places around them. “There is enough data that we should be able to make that Harry Potter map and give it to everyone in the room,” Crowley said.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/11/dennis-crowley-on-using-foursquare-to-build-the-marauders-map/

Why I’m Curious: The relationship between Foursquare and its API partners is kind of symbiotic: Foursquare has one of the best map data sets out there and makes it available. In exchange, it finds out more about the places that its partners’ users go to. It’s interesting to see how powerful data can be when combined with contextually relevant partnerships. It’s obvious most of these apps are created with the user in mind, the user experience as the priority, and they are becoming more and more valuable as complementary apps emerge.

Girl Scouts go all out to help mobile users find cookies

A GPS-enabled Cookie Finder application and mobile payments are on offer from the Girls Scouts of the USA this year.

CF_girls scoutt_10-22-13

Why I am Curious

“There is an app for that”.

In this case, the app comes to solve a very specific challenge: “According to consumer surveys, the No. 1 reason cited for not purchasing Girl Scout Cookies is that potential consumers don’t encounter a Girl Scout during the local sales period,” (said Amanda Hamaker, manager of product sales at Girl Scouts, New York City). — The question is: Which approach makes more sense: a) a dedicated app (development, promotion, maintenance. etc.), or b) a partnership with a popular and heavily adopted location-based service (e.g. Google maps) during the local sales period?

Durex Launches On-Demand Delivery

Durex launched an on-demand delivery service for people who need condoms outside of typical store hours. The service launched in Dubai, is available between 4pm and 4am and will expand to more countries based on interest.


From PSFK,

SOS Condoms is a “public service application” that makes ordering a condom as easy as ordering a pizza. For those people who never seem to have a condom when they need one, a professional team will be available to deliver them discreetly in less than an hour.

The SOS Condoms app, developed with Buzzman, lets you request a delivery, confirm your location, and choose your product from the selected range. It will then be handed over to you in a discreet way that suits your situation and you can pay cash on delivery.

Why I’m Curious

In our instantaneous world it where it seems that you can get anything delivered it makes sense that now you can. I’m interested to see where this will move next, as living in New York we already have the opportunity to order anything at anytime from a mobile device. It’s smart their utilizing voting and UGC to determine the next location, as they know there will be a market upon launch. However, I could see this being even more amplified with a partnership to go beyond just condom delivery.

McDonald’s App Lets Customers Track Where Their Food Came From

From PSFK:

Where did the meat in your hamburger come from? In Australia, McDonald’s (which is known as “Macca’s”) has introduced the ‘TrackMyMacca’s‘ iPhone app. It uses your phone’s GPS to find out what restaurant you’re in, image recognition to see what you’re eating, and the date and time to track the exact ingredients that went into your food.

Augmented reality then turn the tables into a ‘farm’ and allows you to learn about the food. The app promoted transparency, which McDonald’s Canada made headlines for earlier this year with how they photograph their food.

‘TrackMyMacca’s’ works with food that comes in specially marked boxes, including the McChicken burger, Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, and Chicken McNuggets. Augmented reality is used to provide interactive information about McDonald’s and it’s supply chain, turning the iPhone into an ingredient tracker.

The free app lets you get to know some McDonald’s favorites inside out, finding out where the ingredients in the actual food you just bought came from. Check out the short film about the app below:

Why Am I Curious?

I do like how McDonalds is using every single technology and media out there in a creative way to hone in on and get across their single minded brand message of transparency and engaging the consumer in interesting ways without being preachy. Also i think it is important to note how far they are willing to go to demonstrate the authenticity of their claims because after all, I cannot imagine untangling the supply chain data so that consumers can have a customized augmented reality experience depending on time and location can be easy. I think it is great example of using data not just to target the customers to try to sell something but to inform and educate them.

New App Uses Instagram to Find the Best Parties


Now is a new app that uses Instagram to crowdsource photos and let users see where the most fun is being had around their current location.

Essentially, the app uses Instagram’s existing API to sort through real-time photos posted on the platform, and then organizes them by time and location. Now users can input their current location and find out what events, hottest bars, parties, etc. are happening near them in real-time. Events near your location show up on your Now feed, with the most popular being at the top of your feed (those with the most likes, pictures, and shares). (via PSFK)

The app also has the ability to push notifications to app users about cool events (possibly paid sponsorships in the future) nearby.

Why I’m Curious

Social media provides a pretty detailed look into the lives of our friends (and acquaintances). And depending on how much your friends share, you probably don’t need to ask them what they did over the weekend on Monday, since you’ve already seen it play out on social media. Now directly feeds that desire to know what’s going on around you, and relieves symptoms of extreme FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) that 20-30 somethings typically face.

Aside from essentially providing a window into everything popular that happening around you, Now is also something new in social that Facebook’s announcement of Graph Search is also attempting to do: make social data more useful. Most people still scroll through their newsfeeds looking at the latest photo, status updates, and viral videos. But An app like Now, takes all those photos and turns into something useful for users in the moment.

Delta Airlines launches new feature on iPad app

Delta’s latest iPad app features a “glass bottom jet” setting that lets you see exactly where you’re flying and how fast.

From Mashable,

The feature offers a view of the plane flying over the map, replete with the shadow that the aircraft is projecting. The map also calls out landmarks and messages from your social networks. If a Facebook friend, for instance, has checked in to somewhere you’re flying over, you’ll see it. The Fly Delta for the iPad app has other features as well, including destination guides, flight checkin and a “What’s Next” feature to help make post-flight plans. An updated version of Delta’s iPhone app also includes Passbook-based ticketing.

Why I’m Curious

I think this is a very cool and interactive way for Delta to utilize their iPad app. Because it’s build right in, there’s no barrier of downloading something new, and with over 800 planes with Wi-Fi (and more to come) there’s plenty of opportunities for flyers to give it a try. Also, I was really interested in the social network integration, which allows flyers to feel plugged in during long-distance flights.

Actual Location-based Recommendation Tool

Facebook has just announced a huge revamp of their Nearby feature inside the mobile app that turns it from a not-too-remarkable tracker of friends’ check-ins to an actual attempt at a personalized local recommendation engine.

Now when you open up Nearby, you’ll see a search bar, a history list, and a bunch of new location categories – restaurants, nightlife, arts, hotels, shopping, etc. Each category has its own subcategories, like Mexican food inside restaurants or movie theaters inside the arts category.

Facebook is not just listings locations arbitrarily, or based on their global popularity. With Nearby, Facebook is using true social recommendations to find the best places for you based on your friends’ interactions. Let’s say your good friend Jimmy just gave an Indian restaurant a few miles away from you a great rating when he checked-in last night. Well, there’s a good chance that Facebook’s NEarby algorithm would put that location front and center for you.

“When someone looks for a place, the results that appear in their Nearby list are based on things like their friends’ recommendations, ratings, check-ins, and likes,” says Facebook.

Once you choose a location, you’ll be presented with Facebook’s redesigned location pages which include friends who’ve been there, hours, a map, star ratings, and reviews.

After you’ve experienced the location, Facebook wants you to share that experience with your friends through rating and reviewing. In theory, the more people that participate in this way, the better the recommendations will become.

Facebook encourages businesses to update their pages to include any and all information, including their category so they can be easily found through Facebook’s new Nearby product. Also, now more than ever, businesses need to make sure users are liking, checking into, rating, and sharing their Facebook page so that Facebook knows to recommend them when people are looking for things to do on the go.

So, Facebook has finally gotten into the local search game in a real and meaningful way. Facebook says that 150 million people visit Pages on a daily basis – so they have a rather impressive amount of like, check-in, and rating data to pull from. This, in theory, could make Facebook Nearby incredibly useful. They say that this is an early build, and “there’s a lot more to do.” But Facebook’s foray into truly personalized location recommendations should make the folks over at Foursquare and Yelp pay attention. Facebook says that the Nearby update should be available later today on iOS and Android.

Why I’m curious:  It’s interesting to see Facebook continue to surface all the data at their fingertips. Just when it appeared they were not going up against Foursquare, they  pulled a judo move, weaving location into status updates, photos, and other core parts of the social network. It also very quietly took on Yelp, by letting users recommend places to friends.

Source: webpronews.com


Making participation the experience, and vice-versa.

I loved Alina’s Coke 007 post today, and it got my mind thinking about digital versus experiential versus interactive and whether there is really a distinction between those categories. The Coke Zero 007 project is a great example of how experiential marketing – whether via digital or otherwise – is becoming more and more important in breaking through the clutter of marketing messages.

On that note, I wanted to share a short inspiring TED Talk I came across a few weeks ago in the hopes of nurturing the importance of the idea of experience in all that we do. Candy Chang’s famous for many public art installations that draw in the idea of people participation; taking something static and turning it into dynamic. Below, she discusses the “Before I Die” project she initiated in her post-Katrina New Orleans neighborhood.

Why I’m Curious

Candy Chang’s work is a delicate balance of analogue and digital worlds, yet manages to find a way to bring forth the notion of experience and participation. While technology continues to evolve in ways of connecting never imagined before, I wonder with each innovation, how do we as marketers connect the dots and create more experience, rather than message? For more of Candy’s experiential work, have a wander on over here: http://blog.ted.com/2012/09/04/6-art-installations-by-candy-chang-that-make-the-viewer-part-of-the-piece/

Get Alerted to Everything Cool Around You By Letting Google Know Where You Are, Always

– Jordan

From Lifehacker


Field Trip app is a virtual local tour guide that’s always running in the background. It pops up interesting local information—from local history and architecture to the best restaurants and shopping—without you having to ask for it.

After you choose whether you want just occasional notifications or frequent ones, Field Trip runs quietly in the background, looking for anything notable around you. The app pulls in information from a ton of sources including: Zagat and Eater in the food & drinks category, Architizer for architecture, and The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations and Atlas Obscura for unique (and possibly bizarre) finds.

When it finds something, Field Trip notifies you with a ringtone and/or vibration. It can even read the title and description to you. View the event, place, or thing on a map and read more about it within the app. You can also choose to get more or fewer notifications from individual sources.

Why I’m curious:

When Sonar came out some people where quite freaked out, frankly people were still freaked out with Highlight too but they were also starting to expose more of their information in order to benefit from the creepiness. Now with people getting more comfortable with the idea of giving up where they are at anytime a big name like Google can really lead the movement into make it the new norm. I’m awaiting the day when serendipity is automated through your device on a daily basis.

Finally, the Infinite Atlas!

David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is reputed as a bit of a beast in the literary world. In over 1,000 pages and more than 300 endnotes (with footnotes to the endnotes) it’s a journey I have yet to take, but am eager to do… at some point. Just ask me how long it’s taking me to get through Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! right now and you’ll understand.

In the meantime, for those who have tackled the novel, and those of you in progress, this may come in handy: The Infinite Atlas. Powered by Google Maps, the Infinite Atlas project  “is an independent research and art project seeking to identify, place and describe every possible location in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.”  There’s a real(!) map and web guide to Boston with videos and travelogues. Stories and characters are available to search, and each location pinned to the map denotes the page numbers where the location appears, related characters and plot points. Visitors to the site are encouraged to upload photos for each location as well.

Why I’m Curious

So, this is pretty neat use of the Google Maps API. But let’s look beyond the obvious for a moment, and take this idea to another level. As technology adaptation begins at birth, newer generations are unaware of a world sans the digital advances that are commonplace in our world today. As teaching and learning adapts to this curve in technology adaptation, imagine how open APIs can enhance the learning experience: from novels (Absalom, Absalom! comes to mind) to the Revolutionary War, the resources to make learning more interactive and history come to life are increasing. We just need some people with the time, energy and resources to pull it together. Oh, the possibility!

What’s Happening in Your City? This is Now Will Tell You.

A new photo feed, This is Now, uses Instagram geo-location tags to tell visual stories of city life at anygiven moment.

From Mashable,

When you want to know what your friends are doing, there’s a good chance you’ll check their Instagram shots. Now, if you want to know what your city is up to, you can turn to This Is Now, a new Instagram photo-feed, which filters content by city.

This is Now is currently available in five cities – San Paulo, New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo.

Not surprisingly, London has been filled with shots of the Olympics, while New York has been snapping shots of morning rituals and commutes.

Why I’m Curious

People visit social networks to find out information from people they know personally, or celebrities and influencers they know of. However, rarely does someone proactively look at photos and tweets of someone they have never even heard of.

I think it’s an innovative way to step back and see how many people are using Instagram to document their lives, as well as what’s trending in various cities around the world in a visual way.

Vyclone Transforms Multiple Videos Into A Single Video Masterpiece

– Jordan

From Mashable:

The app lets two or more users create a collaborative video with others who are also shooting an iPhone video in physical proximity to them even if you’re not friends with or even aware the other people are shooting a video.

The result is an almost instant multi-angle video of an event that you’ll swear was created by a professional video editor.

Vyclone uses the GPS in your iPhone to determine your location. If you’re recording a video with the app at the same time and place as another person, then the app will automatically edit together your two videos into one ultimate video mix.

Once you’re done recording -– videos are currently limited to one minute in length — you’ll have the option to make the finished product available for just your crew (people you’re linked to on Vyclone), the Crowd (people who were around you when the video was recorded), or Everyone.

Video Demo

Why I’m curious:

I love the automation that this app brings. Going home with content from one perspective is cool but to have multiple camera angles at a single time for an event and to have it all edited for you is amazing. This app has some serious potential and I can imagine it could extend into other platforms.

Pinwheel Lets Users Leave Notes Everywhere They Go


Developed by Flickr’s cofounder, Caterina Fake, Pinwheel is a location-based tool that enables users to pin and find notes across the world via maps. These notes can be posted using video, text or images and organized into sets, allowing users to record themed notes throughout specific locations. They can also be published in public, friends-only and private form.

The social network has not yet opened to the public, as it is still in its private-beta testing phase.

Why I’m Curious

Pinwheel opens a world of possibility beyond writing tips or reviews about locations. Notes can become jokes, fond memories, historical facts, to-do lists and even more. Whether it becomes the next social media “big thing” or not, what is unique about Pinwheel is that it is able to highlight people’s emotional attachment to a specific location. The social platform can ignite new behaviors that marketers can tap into, for example: travel companies can create tourist guides, entertainment brands could offer immersive story-like experiences and restaurant/bars could advertise themselves through consumers’ cherished memoirs.

Like a box of Sharpies. But on your phone. For your brain. Or something.

This is a quick one kids. Have you heard of Highlight? It’s another social discovery app that helps you find out more about the people around you, providing said people have the very same app as you. In the words of the creators themselves (I said this was a quick one…):

“If someone standing near you also has Highlight, their profile will show up on your phone. You can see their name, photos of them, mutual friends, and anything else they have chosen to share. When you meet someone, Highlight helps you see what you have in common with them. And when you forget their name at a party a week later, Highlight can help you remember it.

As you go about your day, Highlight runs quietly in the background, surfacing information about the people around you. If your friends are nearby, it will notify you. If someone interesting crosses your path, it will tell you more about them.”

The app also includes links to each person’s social network presences, allowing you to track ’em down there, too, and uses Facebook Connect to get the whole registration thing started.

Why I’m Curious

Many, many apps have been here before, and I’m not quite sure of the differentiating factor. What is consistent though, is the usage barrier. How willing are we to put ourselves out there for others to find just by proximity? And upon meeting someone, wouldn’t you just look each other up on Facebook on the spot? What this app does do is tie together other fragments of social media in an effort to provide a full experience – something which Facebook (for example, since it’s the biggest) hasn’t been able to pull off just yet.

Weotta Go answers the question: “What should we do next?”

Seems like a simple and harmless question, but we all experienced that moment when your friend asks, “What should we do next”, and your brain goes blank. Now there is an app offering a solution to this need and it is called Weotta Go.

The iPhone app is focused on spontaneity as opposed to making plans in advance. When you open up Weotta Go, the results are tailored to the time and location. For example, if it is noon, the app shows nearby lunch spots. If it is later in the day, you start to see happy hour recommendations. In the morning, you guessed it: Coffee shops near your location. You can also filter the results based on how far you’re willing to go (the narrowest filter is “2 blocks”), the price, the category (activities, attractions, coffees and sweets, food, and sporting events), and the context (is this just for guys, girls, kids, or a couple on a date?).


Even better, the app changes the results on-the-fly. Its recommendations are delivered as a stack of photos, which you can tap on for more information, drag down to save in a list, or swipe across to say that you’re not interested. As you do that, the list will change to show you more items in the categories that you’re interested in and less of everything else.

After you’ve created a list of things you find promising, you can also share it with your friends via email. The app also offers integrations with other services, like purchasing tickets from StubHub for a sporting event or from Fandango for a movie.

Why Am I Curious?

I find this interesting because of how the apps brings mobile, local, real-time, and big-data algorithms together in order to create the most customized and relevant ideas possible. I am also curious to see if they will add new data sources (via Facebook Connect) in order to further improve the strength of their algorithm and be more customized. Also, another question is how the app will be monetized. As mentioned, there is the relatively small affiliate model with 3rd party vendors such as StubHub and Fandango but what could really help is the obvious local offers/deals solution that could be attractive to brands given Weotta will have access to very specific real-time data of not only where people are but also potentially what they are in the mood for.