I’m now actively seeking testers for SnapMyInfo! Check it out and let me know what you think!
What is it?
SnapMyInfo is my particular solution to a problem I invariably have: I always manage to forget my business cards. Always.
I wanted some kind of system where I could rapidly share my contact information with someone else, preferably electronically, and with my cell phone. I looked around at the various existing solutions to electronic contact sharing (boy are there tons) and they all seem to suffer from the same basic problem, both sides of the exchange have to be setup just right. Sender and receiver both have to have the same kind of phone, or have bluetooth with just the right settings, or have the same specialized application running. I wanted a solution that could work for almost anyone.
So how does SnapMyInfo work?
SnapMyInfo works by associating special square (2D) barcodes with your contact information known as QRcodes. QRcodes are not new. They have been a big deal in Japan for years but they’ve never really seemed to take off here in the States.
I had a simple thought, what if there was an email service that could decode these barcodes in photo attachments. In that way, anyone with a camera phone and access to email could use the system. That’s the genesis of SnapMyInfo.
Connecting with someone is easy. You simply take a photo of their code, email it to the special address in the image, and snapmyinfo will send you an electronic card for the person in vcard format. More advanced users can take advantage of any one of the existing barcode scanner applications to speed up the process, but they’re not required.
My original vision for this would be that a person would save their barcode as an image to their cell phone. That way, when you want to connect with someone, you can show them the picture on your cell phone screen and they can then take a picture of it and email it to the decoder. Then you never have to carry business cards. Anyone with a cell phone camera and email can connect with you.
These barcodes, however, present an interesting opportunity to act as a bridge between traditional paper business cards and electronic sharing. Taking pictures of phone screens is not the only way they can be used. Including a small copy on your business card creates a simple way for people to scan paper cards. Putting them on t-shirts or other ‘real world’ stuff gives you another way of sharing your contact information. There are many possibilities for how this can be used
I would love to hear real world experiences with the system. What works, what doesn’t, what could be improved. I’m also interested in unique applications of contact sharing, creative ways these codes can be used.
- SnapMyInfo was designed to share contacts in vcard format since that’s a fairly universally recognized contact format. Unfortunately Android phones do not understand vcard format. I’m currently working on integrating Google contacts with SnapMyInfo so that Android users, as well as anyone who uses google contacts for their contact management will be able to use the system.
- The decoder has some problems with photos taken at steep angles. The system uses a lot of image processing to work with blurry, noisy, and photos generally taken in less than ideal conditions. I’m continually improving these processing techniques so they should get better over time and the next processor I’m adding is one to work with highly skewed codes.
SnapMyInfo is also the first project in my new venture TenZeroLab. With TenZeroLab I’m trying to build projects more quickly, create so-called minimum viable products and see if anyone actually finds them useful. I really want to avoid building a giant massive FNAC (feature, not a company). I intend to write more regarding my vision and purpose with regards to TenZeroLab in a future post.