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What if? Locating a missed love connectionMay 6, 2012 @ 6:59 pm (Updated: 9:47 am - 5/10/12 )
"At a Shell station on Pioneer Avenue in Puyallup. You, in a beautiful Midnight Cloud 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and dressed in scrubs. Me, in my less than beautiful Sierra Sand 1983 Jeep Wagoneer Limited and wearing my Carhartts, dirty from helping a friend clear brush. I want to meet you."
"It was around 4 pm on Saturday at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. You were on the Men's floor by the escalator watching the television. I was going up the escalator and we made a strong eye-contact connection. You were really handsome and wish I could have said hi."
We've all had that moment when we wanted to introduce ourselves to someone, but we didn't. We kick ourselves. For a time we're obsessed thinking about what might have been.
"There's always that slim chance that it might have changed your life," says Yakup Trana.
"It's the big 'what if,'" says Mike Mercer.
Trana and Mercer are two Eastside guys with a way to improve on the "missed connections" section in The Stranger and on Craigslist with a mobile application called Eye Saw You .
"It's simple. You describe yourself, describe the person you're curious about and then drop a note saying what you wanted to say," Trana says. "Then it goes on a database. The other person can check out the 'who saw me' section of the app through the same process of finding the venue. Then they can connect if they want. And when they connect, it's all anonymous."
Although I'm a fan of most all tools related to social media, I don't like location-based services. Foursquare, and Glancee - the company Facebook bought over the weekend - are examples of apps that let you show the world exactly where you are. I call them "stalker bait."
Trana and Mercer say they designed their app with personal security and safety in mind. Eye Saw You does not use GPS to track individuals' locations, and it doesn't pull information from a person's Facebook or Twitter network profiles.
"There's no profiles on this app," Mercer says. "There's no name, there's no history of who you are. It's just phones talking to phones. Even as you start to text back and forth nobody knows who you are. It's almost impossible to stalk anybody on this particular app."
While most online and social media tools disconnect people from personal, face-to-face contact, this app does the opposite. With this, you're meeting people in real life first.
"That first encounter where you here what someone sounds like, smells like, all the different senses are firing. Then you're using technology to actually reconnect," says Mercer.
Their app, for the iPhone and Droid, is free. They're also launching an online version this week. It cost them about $100,000 to develop in a very competitive market.
There are about 500,000 apps in the iTunes app store from more than 85,000 developers who are hoping their app will be the next big thing like the most popular app of all time - Angry Birds. While 37 percent of all apps are free, $3.64 is the average price paid for apps and premium versions of free mobile tools.
Mobile app downloads are growing at a huge rate, from from seven billion downloads in 2009, to almost 50 billion in 2012, according to Softpedia. At this rate, the economic value of the applications sold will surpass the value of the CDs sold in 2012. Apps are a $15 billion a year industry.
By LINDA THOMAS
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