If you follow me on Twitter you have probably noticed all my tweets about a mysterious Android app that I’m working on. Well that app shall be a mystery no more… I have made it available for download and encourage you to try it out. You can find the client here. (You will probably want to click that link on your phone. You can also find it in the navigation links on the right side of the page.) It should work on any Android device with GPS, a camera, and at least Android 1.6.
The working title for the app is Mobile Photo Hunt. If you give Photo Hunt a try and have feedback, I set up a User Voice forum to collect that feedback. This is an open alpha, so don’t be surprised if major changes occur over the coming weeks. I am making it available here well before it goes up on the app market so I can get some early feedback. Please tell me what you think.
The basic idea is this: People take pictures of cool or interesting things in the world and upload those as puzzles. Those pictures (and their GPS coordinates) are made available to everyone else and everyone else is encouraged to find whatever the thing is and take a picture of their own to prove that they found it. Other users can then compare the two pictures and vote up or down about whether or not they match. Some sort of game mechanics wrap the whole activity to encourage good puzzles, searching for puzzles, and confirming matches. Except for the game mechanics this all basically works now.
The game uses Facebook Connect to authenticate users. I expect to eventually add Twitter, Google, and OpenID logins as alternate ways to authenticate. I have no interest in maintaining a list of usernames and passwords, so creating a custom Photo Hunt account will never be an option. These login methods are only used to figure out who you are and and come up with something to call you. The app doesn’t publish anything to your feed, send any messages to your friends, or do anything else annoying in whatever social network you used to log in. I may eventually add the ability to automatically post new puzzles to Facebook/Twitter, but that will be something you can opt-in to when you upload the puzzle.
There are a few known issues up on User Voice already, and a few more minor ones I’ll list here:
- After logging in you will see three paragraphs telling you how to play but no buttons. They appear after your phone acquires a GPS signal. Need a busy indicator of some sort to indicate what’s going on.
- The FB Connect login has a yellow warning bar that says “Cookies Required.” Cookies actually WORK and your login is stored, so I don’t know what that’s about. Haven’t dug into it yet.
- When you bring up an on-screen keyboard the FB Connect dialog freaks out. I’m hoping this will be fixed when I switch to the official Facebook SDK.
- After you switch to another app it may still be using GPS. Killing Photo Hunt with a task killer will probably fix that. Eventually it will stop using GPS on its own.
So that’s my app. Please give it a shot and tell me what you think.
Here’s a QR code for the app in case you happen to be viewing this on your desktop: