About Mobile 2.0

The Mobile 2.0 project at the Mobile Life Centre explores the next generation of mobile services and applications. We approach our work in the mobile 2.0 area in three different ways. First, we look at how existing commercial services are used right now. Second, by prototyping a set of examples of mobile apps and services based on a variety of different platforms and technologies; we design and implement our own "one-bit-applications" - applications that do one thing, but do that one thing extremely well. We design and implement those services to study different properties of the mobile 2.0 domain. Third, we explore new ways to rapidly develop, but also distribute such services; and also how we can enable the end-user creation of advanced mobile applications.

We have prototyped a number of example services and apps, such as location-based services. They cover various media and domains, such as photography, chatting and social awareness.

Below you'll find a selection of themes, projects and applications that are part of the Mobile 2.0 Project. Any other questions? Please email project leader Henriette Cramer (henriette (at) mobilelifecentre.org).

Current focus themes

Mobile business models & wide distribution in research
Getting users for your mobile app means you need to get your mobile service out there. But how do the business models mobile services use affect user experience? Which opportunities have arisen for  developers and researchers? Application distribution appears to have become increasingly simple due to the proliferation of app stores and other means of wide promotion and distribution. However, an overview of successful strategies and ways to overcome the challenges inherent to wide deployment in a research context is not yet available. App store platform characteristics, devices, reaching target users and critical mass, dealing with new types of evaluation data and dynamic, heterogeneous usage contexts have to be dealt with. Within this theme we explore how evaluation and research methods have to be adapted to this new context in order to get the best data and feedback from wide audiences.

Resarch in the Large Workshop
Within this theme, we organized a workshop on Research in the Large: Using App Stores, Markets, and other wide distribution channels in UbiComp research, at UbiComp 2010, September 26th, Copenhagen, Denmark. A second edition focusing on practical strategies for large deployments and dealing with big data is now being organized for UbiComp 2011, September 18th, Beijing, China. You can find the CFP for 2011, papers of the 2010 workshop and more information about its associated special issue at the workshop web site.

Location: location-based services & locative digital content
While location-based services have been around in research for a long time, they are just now booming as commercial services for 'people on the street'. So, how do people use them? What does it mean to share your location with others? Which design dimensions affect their experience? How do location-based services change people's experience of space and place? Beyond user studies on how existing services (Foursquare, Gowalla, Latitude, Brightkite, etc) are used, we also develop new concepts for location-based services (such as making hidden services visible at physical locations, and physical 'check-ins').

We also explore perceptions of place through locative media. Comparisons between perceptions of places, effects on what constitutes a place for users, as well as the perception of other people's social relationships to the surroundings at hand, are just a number of examples of the issues we are investigating.

Selected Mobile 2.0 Apps

Pic-In is an app that allows you to check-in on location-sharing service foursquare by by simply taking a picture. Your venue is recognized based on your photo and your mobile phone's position. Pic-In one of Mobile Life's new concept apps, and combines crowdsourcing and sensor-data. It doesn't work the first time? Well, we need some images to compare them to your photo. If you come to the same place again and take a similar image, your venue will be recognized. Pic-In shows the potential of using computer vision techniques in mobile applications to create new user experiences, and usage of the mobile camera as a sensor to detect objects and places. More information: pic-in.com

Pic-In from mobile life on Vimeo.

Spotisquare is a mobile web app that adds music to place by combining Foursquare (the location-based service) and Spotify (the music streaming service). This project explores locative media and the opportunities and challenges in combining commercially available services. We're interested in both user experience and research issues that might arise from limitations in this process and how they need to be addressed in both development platforms. The mobile app, also usable as a regular foursquare client, is accessible via m.spotisquare.com, more info can be found at www.spotisquare.com.

φ² Scanner
φ² is a project exploring different ways of physical check-ins for location-based services and the connection between 'the visible and virtual'. φ² Scanner is a mobile Android app that checks you in to foursquare by scanning 2D barcode stickers. If you want to generate your own barcodes for your favorite venue, use the φ² Barcode Generator.

GeoChat is a map based chat application. You can join and create chat rooms over geographical areas and talk about things relevant to that geographical region. Through GeoChat we study what happens when digital communication is grounded in, and centered around, geographic locations. What kind of communication does this afford, when is it feasible to communicate in this manner, does it change people's experiences?

Portrait Catalog
Portrait Catalog is an application for sharing and collection portraits of nearby friends. With portrait catalog we explore how digital content can be added value by adding restrictions of use. We are interested in what this means for usage of digital content, and how users perceive and use both the content, and the app, differently from when using other means of sharing content.

Columbus is a mobile application for exploring the physical world with geotagged photos. The access to the geotagged photos are restricted so that you must physically move to the place where photos are tagged in order to find them. Columbus explores how space and place and localized digital content can be explored together. Our user studies have for example showed differences in usage and user behavior depending on the setting, for example whether people are exploring areas they know or those they do not. Through exploring how people appropriate apps like Columbus, we develop design guidelines for apps that enable localized content consumption.

TågAlong is a mobile web-based application for finding your friends in the subway. TågAlong explores among other things social connectedness, non-places, and the 'check in'-model for location sharing when checking in to 'venues that move', rather than static places. Below is a video of an early prototype. A new version is under development and is currently in the alpha stage.