Google+-Mobile-AppsI was listening to my rock radio station of choice the other day, and when the commercial for a big bank mobile app aired, some thoughts I’d been having about social media and apps started to really make sense.

The spokesperson, in jocular, soothing tones, told me how even if I forgot to deposit my checks before I went to the ballgame, it didn’t matter, because I could do so with the app while the pitchers warm up. “All you have to do is take a picture of both sides of the check and boom it’s deposited,” he said.

This is what mobile apps are doing right now. They are reaching right into real life and disrupting the hell out of old patterns in our lives.

This is the type of stuff I was challenged to think about at Techcrunch’s First Mobile CrunchUp recently.An Android developer talked about how his team understands their often-maligned smart phone apps might be ugly right now but will eventually catch up to their Apple counterparts. Chamillionaire gave the developer, Matias Duarte, a hard time publicly because the quality of the phones was not up to snuff in his opinion.

But what really struck me about this conference was just how embedded social media has become in the psychology of mobile app developers and their CEO’s.


Chamillionaire criticized Android at Mobile First Crunchup.

I was reminded that hundreds of apps already use Facebook and Twitter to bring community to their services. Foursquare for instance asks users to connect with their Facebook friends in order to figure out who they might want to follow on the service. “The big social graphs have already been created,” said Bump CEO Jake Mintz. (His app is the one that lets friends exchange contacts by bumping their phones.)

But things are moving even beyond that. Google+ has come on the scene and even mobile app developers are taking notice because of what it could mean for future apps. It’s great to have your social graph accessible. But now with “circles,” there are ways to further categorize all those friends.

“Google plus and its circles… it has new information, more nuance. That’s exciting because that means that web developers can crate apps with more nuance – that are more targeted,” said Duarte.

“There’s probably a really big play out there for a company that figures out how to manage all the data we receive,” said Howard Hartenbaum of August Capital. “I would pay big money to a company who can send all the different data sources that need to be managed to make your life better.”

Now apps may be targeted just for the people you went to college with. Maybe they’ll be targeted for the people you know through work. The sky’s the limit, or so these developers hope.

Thanks to Zennie Abhraham and Marla Schulman for their contributions to this story.


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Written by John Boitnott
One of a small group of social media consultants with a background in the newsroom, John consults with a variety of sites and publishers on how to build their popularity on the Internet. John has worked for NBC and Village Voice, Venturebeat and Kip Prahl and Associates. John is currently Vice President of Business Development at