Sunday, March 18, 2012

Use GPS To Unlock Secret Messages

TracesIn the digital age, it seems like people have become more and more detached from each other as social media and messaging becomes more and more common. A new app, called Traces, is trying to change that with an immersive messaging system that uses GPS location and augmented reality to force users to get out of the computer chair and go and find messages from friends. Half treasure hunt, half phone messenger, Traces is a really unique and awesome use of GPS technology that I just had to share.

“Facebook and WhatsApp broadcast frequent, out-of-context information that’s of very little value to you, leaving you a completely passive receiver,” said Beau Lotto, CEO of Ripple Inc, based in San Francisco, which created Traces. “Instead of reading tweets in a random location you can choose the location to add context to your delivery,” Lotto said.

Sending secret notes and surprises is easy: Select up to five recipients, drop a pin on a map to identify GPS location and set the time, upload whatever message, music, file or video you want and Traces will automatically compress it into a digital ‘payload’ of sorts. Traces will then send details with where and what time the message can be opened to your friends and when they get close, the hunt begins! Looking through the phone camera, a floating droplet will appear in the predefined spot and will burst, revealing the message to the recipient.

There are a plethora of awesome potential uses for such an app from creating a soundtrack for your street to setting up a treasure hunt or a trace to remind you where you parked your car. According to a Newscientist article, the makers of Traces, Ripple Inc., is in talks with a major record label to use the app to sample or even sell music. The possibilities are pretty expansive, and it is one of the more creative uses of the GPS system I’ve seen. The app is currently available from the iTunes store and is, unfortunately, not available for Android at the time.


  1. Sounds like an easy way to attract the young vulnerable to danger

    • I am not sure, but I think you can only send it to people in your contact list, so it wouldn’t be like strangers sending you a note to go to a specific spot, etc. That would be quite dangerous, I agree.

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