Thursday, May 15, 2008

should have tried to do the android competition

one of my co-workers sent me this blog today; Google Hands Out $1.25 Million To 50 Android App Winners (GOOG). the winers were apparently just announced. and although i haven't been following this competition i did spend a little while thinking about an idea last year.

my idea went something like this (a chat log from december 2007):

aaron: i had an idea.
aaron: its called browse
aaron: browse is a software and hardware system that has a barcode scanner that will help you browse while shopping.
aaron: like a book in borders. scan it in and see if your friends read it.
aaron: or see if it had good reviews.
aaron: or see if other people that liked that book liked another one.
austen: so a in-store amazon
aaron: browse is a system that can revolutionize shopping at the mall.
aaron: yes
austen: who shops at the mall anymore
austen: haha
aaron: haha. i always like going to borders.
aaron: real books are cooler to browse.
aaron: anyway browse is for more than just borders.
austen: yah that would be cool if it was for everything
aaron: browse opens up mall shopping to technology.
austen: i usually shop for clothes at stores. if there was something that told me that whoever bought this shirt from prototype also bought this other shirt from information i would drive there and buy it
austen: just cause its hard to find shirts that have cool designs that i like
aaron: haha.. or a brand name was also sold at stores x,y,z
aaron: and it costs
austen: ooo what if it was on your phone
austen: everyone has phones
aaron: android!

after sending me the winners announcement. my friend was quick to point out the first winner; Android Scan.

Scan is an Android application that finds pricing and metadata for anything with a barcode. Here are some key features that make Scan stand out:

* Automatic barcode recognition using onboard phone camera using ZXing
* Shows CD, DVD, or book cover along with detailed reviews from* Searches over a dozen stores, both online and brick+mortar
** Highlights brick+mortar stores that are nearby, with option to call the store or get directions
** Links to online storefronts to buy online from the phone
* Tracklisting for CDs, along with option to play sample tracks right on phone
* For books, searches local libraries to see if they have a copy

he even has a video of what his system does. go check it out.

anyway, i was a little bummed knowing that my idea was really similar and knowing that i could have won 25k and potentially 100k or 250k. but, after 10 seconds of that i quickly remembered a post on software by rob; A Fool’s Bargain: Building Software for Free (or, An Idea Ain’t Worth Squat). here is the paragraph i immediately thought of:

Every one of the good developers I know have tens if not hundreds of ideas for software products…it’s not a lack of ideas, but a lack of time that keeps us from building and marketing them ourselves.

anyway... i guess its kinda of cool that similar idea won a google android prize. i don't know. it is interesting though.


rtk said...

Awesome....and I loved the quote at the end. It's so true.

rwalling said...

This is a good idea; I've discussed this exact concept with a few different people over the past year. I'm glad someone finally executed on it.

I actually explored it pretty intently about 6 months ago and started to put a team together to pursue it, but decided against it due to lack of resources and time - apropos given my quote. I knew I'd have to shut down my consulting business and go full force at this one for it to have a chance at working, and the timing wasn't right.

You're on the right track. Let me know when you have another idea like this one :-)

aaron said...

hey rob, thanks for the comment.