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An app for the here and now

Letting people know which of a bar’s beers are good and which aren’t is a noble pursuit of public interest. And it led developer Ben Nolan to dream up the new iOS and Android app HereNow.

When users download the app, they can leave messages for others within 100 metres of their location. If no one is around, the message will be held for the next 10 people to arrive at that place.

“I was in a craft beer bar in Wellington and I wanted to write a note on which one was good and which one wasn’t and everyone else could get the message,” says Nolan. “You can use [HereNow] to create an informal message board for your place of work, or leave a message at the bar saying which brew was the best.”

Nolan finds some location-based apps creepy – this one detects a user’s location using wi-fi but doesn’t show others where they are. Others only receive a message when they arrive in the vicinity of where the message was posted.

It’s not entirely anonymous as users get a number and an icon when they download.

Nolan’s a Ruby on Rails developer who divides his time between working at Wellington company Powershop and working on his own app projects.

“HereNow is an unfunded project at the moment, I work three days a week for a great client and then spend two and a half days a week hacking on fun projects, this is my first mobile release and I’m hoping it’ll slowly grow.”

His earlier projects include the web-based scrollable, zoomable map directory Zoomin and With, another app he’s worked on for six months which runs in the background and reminds users weekly who they spent time with.

With is similar to the iPhone app Reporter, another quantified self app which measures lifestyle aspects. It’s yet to be released. 

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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