We’ve all been there. You’re sitting around with your friends, and all of you want to do ‘something,’ but no one knows what exactly. Now, there’s an app for that. Coincidentally, ‘Now’ is its name.
French web developer Benjamin Broca recently released the worldwide version of his real-time app, Now. Now is an iOS app, which is free, that allows users to explore what’s happening around them using Instagram’s photo API. Essentially, the app uses Instagram’s existing API to sort through real-time photos posted on the platform, and then organizes them by time and location.
In this way, Now users can input their current location and find out what events, hottest bars, parties, etc. are happening near them in real-time. Events near your location show up on your Now feed, with the most popular being at the top of your feed (those with the most likes, pictures, and shares).
Photos can be organized around specific events like concerts or restaurants to allow users to see what people are Instagraming, and using that information to find something fun and new to do.
Currently, Now breaks down searchable pictures and events into the following categories: food, art, party, outdoors, and concert. You can also search by popular cities, like New York, San Francisco, and London, or you can just peruse the app if you’re interested in the hottest spot in Seoul, South Korea on a Friday night.
Users can also contribute pictures, events, and updates to the Now app, helping organize, categorize, and title events themselves. The more active the users, the less likely Now will let you miss out on the coolest things to do in your neighborhood.
This is an extremely opportune time for the Now app. First, it has the potential to send notifications for popular events nearby, and maybe even ‘paid-for’ events. A clear revenue-creation aspect of the app would allow event promoters to sponsor their events, concerts, restaurants, etc., for better placement in the Now feed.
Second, Now helps solve a major issue facing 20-30-somethings: FOMO. FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out,’ is an anxiety-like feeling that afflicts many in the millennial generation, always having to be in the know. The app’s ability to ensure that you never miss out on the coolest party around almost guarantees its popularity.
But that may be putting the cart-before-the-horse. Broca is still discovering smarter ways to use the photo organization power of Instagram, which we might add is owned by Facebook. Facebook is launching their own ‘discovery’ system, tentatively dubbed Graph Search, which could pose problems for Now’s success and access to Instagram’s API.
Broca’s response to potential access hurdles with Facebook is simply hopeful that ‘they don’t change it too much.’ The app is downloadable for free here, and we can attest to its fun and addictive nature.