It’s the time of year for lists and recaps, so we have compiled a list of top ten technologies we used in 2011. Before jumping into 2012 we wanted to look back at the technology that we used, used often, and can’t live without. This next year is sure to bring more emerging trends in technology, social media’s, applications, and design. It is our hope that you will find one item on this list you hadn’t had a chance to hear about, and get your 2012 started with a newly discovered technology.
As the holiday gift giving wound down, I noticed a lot of Facebook friends were getting iPhones for the first time. Inside my instagram account I would receive a message “your facebook friend Jane Doe has now joined Instagram, follow them.” For many new iPhone users, it is the first app that they download (ok, maybe second after Facebook). It is the best photography app available, it makes any poor picture instantly better, and turns everyone into a photographer. It is a great app, with a great social element. And with the promises of an Android Instagram version, it appears poised to have a big 2012. After you download the app, remember to search and follow Matters of Grey.
Pinterest is going to be big in 2012. It already is, and its momentum continues to grow. MoG began using Pinterest this year, and we hope to tell you more about it in an upcoming post. It is a social way to save, borrow, and share images and videos from around both the web, and in real life. It is gaining new fans every day. It is currently invite only, but if you need an invite, let us know and we can provide one. If you are already a member, come follow us on Pinterest.
The world is going cash-less and trending towards a wallet-less economy. Everything is being stored within your cellphone via the cloud. Venmo is a simple payment tool. At MoG, we often use Venmo when doing group lunches. Instead of splitting a lunch tab 10 ways, or making the waitress do separate checks, one person will float the tab, and then bill everyone else at the table with Venmo. Venmo is securely connected to your credit card or your bank, and your balance within your Venmo account. The app allows you to charge and pay friends with a few steps. Parameters can be set up to deposit money into your bank account anytime your Venmo balance reaches a certain level. Lunches, friendly bets, splitting electric bills with roommates, short-term loans with friends, and even some restaurants are set up to receive Venmo payments. Like their slogan says: “It’s like your phone and your wallet had a beautiful baby.”
There are many group chat programs available, and for any outing or event (picture comic-con), it is a must-have app. For a long period of time, the group chat app of choice by MoG was Beluga. However, in 2011 Beluga was purchased by Facebook, and ironically the app started failing. With the constant failures, MoG moved on/back to other group chats programs such as KiK, G+ hangouts, What’sApp, and GroupMe. GroupMe won out. It offers an easy to use web interface which allows for easy typing/chatting while at a computer, and an easy to use phone app as well. GroupMe also has an easy conference calling aspect to the app so that you can create an instant group phone call. Facebook eventually announced they wouldn’t be supporting Beluga, and would be coming out with their own improved Facebook Messenger group chat program. But by that time, it was already too late. Meanwhile, GroupMe joined the Skype family. It will be interesting how these two identities will collaborate in 2012.
Dropbox is a great way to share files amongst different people or computers. At MoG, we use it every month when our different designers submit their typography wallpapers. Dropbox is an online storage system which automatically syncs between all of your devices, so that even if you are without internet service, you will still have access to your files. It is a secure file sharing and storing technology which assists in never being without an important file, no matter which device you are using.
Passwords, passwords, passwords, upon passwords. Some systems require your login to have 6 alpha-numeric passwords, some require you to have an 8 character passwords requiring upper and lower-case, numerals, special symbols, and anything else in-between. Now your computer will often ask you if you want it to remember your password, however this is a very insecure method, and furthermore, what do you do when you are away from your home computer? Much like Dropbox, LastPass is a secure way to manage your information from computer to computer. It will help generate secure passwords, it will remember all of your password varieties, and it does so with only a single login – making it the last password you will have to remember.
Like LastPass and Dropbox, Evernote is a means of managing your life across a variety of platforms. Takes notes on your iPhone, and it is instantly synched with your iPad, your desktop, your laptop, and virtually all other devices you might have. Use it to store notes, web pages, pdf’s, and even photos. Evernote is easily searchable as well, even recognizing words within images to help make everything simple to find.
Wunderlist is similar to Evernote. It’s a great, simple, to-do list that can sync between your devices and computers. There is an app for iPad, iPhone, Android and a native website. Wunderlist allows you to check stuff of, set deadlines, and create separate to-do lists. Evernote is great for taking notes, but for a to-do lists, it lacks. Many people might say that these two apps shouldn’t be compared to each other, however, it is natural to do so. Evernote is the full package, and Wunderlist strips it down to a simple, dedicated to-do list.
We love Tweetdeck. Every member of MoG uses it, manages their twitter feeds, their twitter lists, and all of their multiple social networks using the tool. The recent release of the new, Twitter-owned Tweetdeck, however, has left a lot to be desired. The new Tweetdeck subtracted many features that made the previous version user-friendly, including, removing the ability to see likes, comment counts, and images within the platform. Overall, the new Tweetdeck is not quite as streamlined as the previous version that we love. Hopefully it will return to some of the key features in its next update.
Last but not least, obviously, we love Foursquare. 2011 was a year that Matters of Grey had fun with Foursquare. For April Fool’s Day, we did both a parody of badges, as well as a foursquare call-center video. Both still make our team laugh today.
There really is an aspect of Foursquare for everyone. While some people like to chase points, others like to chase badges. There are jumpers, and there are those that check in off the grid. One of my favorite uses for Foursquare is to see where my friends are, and then to make playful comments on their check-in’s. 2011 saw tremendous growth at Foursquare. Halfway through the year, Foursquare announced they were over 10 million users. Other Foursquare 2011 accomplishments include the release of University badges, the launch of lists, new event features, radar, “add to Foursquare” buttons popping up on websites, and of course, the new Foursquare website redesign. It is nice to see Foursquare continuing to try to build and improve upon their popular product.
Timehop: A service to receive an email every morning, reminding you what you did (via Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook) the previous year.
Google+: Google’s new attempt at cracking the social media network clique. This network ties in smoothly with other Google products such as Gmail, and Docs.
Turntable.fm: A music, social, and gaming website that is addictive. It came out of the gates fast, will it grow and sustain itself in 2012?
Spotify: After a few years of huge popularity in Europe, 2011 was the year Spotify finally launched in the United States. Spotify ties seamlessly into your Facebook stream so you can see when your friends are grooving to Bieber. Will Spotify continue its quick US growth once people realize some of the restrictions an account faces after the 6 month free period?
Flipboard: Scanning the social and online networks to create a magazine of information. Flipboard’s popularity grew in 2011 as a pretty tool to discover and engage in information.
Are there any predictions for 2012?