By Harry McCracken | Friday, November 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm
I’ve been playing with Flook, a clever new program that’s now available on Apple’s iPhone App Store. Conceptually, it’s very, very simple: You use it to capture images with your phone and attach brief titles and captions to them. Flook then turns the image, title and caption into a full-screen combo it calls a card, uploads them to its servers, geotags them, and lets other Flook users browse through them.
The most obvious way to browse through Flook cards is to peruse ones that are near your location, in case they give you an idea of something nearby to see or do. But you can also view ones from people you follow, or new ones, or the whole shebango of cards from around the world. Flook also creates some local-information cards of its own, by sucking in content from sources such as Upcoming.org and formatting it. Zipping your way though cards is easy, fun, and addictive–the experience has a StumbleUpon-feel of serendipity to it.
Even more than just browsing other folks’ cards, I like the idea of using Flook for tiny acts of photojournalism. The service can can automatically send out tweets about your new cards. Which means that I can consider using it to tell the world about quirky stuff I run across and photograph as I travel around town, throughout the country, and around the world. (Up until now I’ve just been uploading my pictures to TwitPic.)
Flook (which is also available in a traditional Web-based version for PCs and Macs) is free, and currently free of ads. Like every other company involved in geographically-aware apps, the one behind Flook thinks there’s lots of potential in eventually targeting its users with ads that know where they are. In the case of Flook, one of the company’s founders told, those ads might be in the form of sponsored cards that tell you about things like discounts at stores you’re near.
This service could use something like Facebook Connect integration to help you find friends who are already using it. But it’s entertaining as is–and easier to show than explain. After the jump, some images from the iPhone app.