Traces : The new Messaging App

Traces : The new Messaging App

Never a day goes by without someone inventing a new application that is bound to pick up where the others left off. Apps are certainly the present and they are definitely going to be the future. Apps are here to stay and the sky’s the limit. After ‘Yo’ (that neat little app that does nothing except send the word ‘yo’ to the person you want; ‘yo’ meaning anything you want it to mean) now you can entice your friends to go on a treasure hunt to get the message that you want to deliver to them. Traces! The new messaging app that is going to revolutionize the way you text someone. Augmented reality included! For the moment it’s only available in the UK; but it’ll be in stores near you very soon!


Imagine the scenario:

  • You receive a message to go to a certain spot somewhere there in the town where you live.
  • Or anywhere in the world for that matter!
  • You hold up the smartphone and the app lets a water droplet appear on the screen that you’re looking at.
  • Align an on-screen target on the droplet and the bubble bursts, revealing the message.
  • It could be anything from a song that means something to you and to the person that sent the message to you, to a video clip or tickets for the theatre.
  • The possibilities are endless.

It’s immersive messaging and it’s been on the Apple app store (UK) since August 3rd. Augmented reality included means that messages are linked to physical locations and there’s a kind of game involved in bursting the bubble. You have to get to the right place at the right time.

Wired says “It’s as if the messages have been etched in the air” and New Scientist believes it to be “an absolutely cracking idea”. Beau Lotto, the CEO of the company that produced it, Ripple Inc. (in San Francisco) says: “Facebook and WhatsApp broadcast frequent, out-of-context information that’s of very little value to you, leaving you a completely passive receiver”. Traces is bringing us out of the mundane, boring messaging that was once a revolution. Remember when the first text message was sent on December 3rd 1992 from engineer Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone wishing him a “Merry Christmas”. It seems like yesterday to some of us; but how far have we come since then. Then, WhatsApp was invented in 2009 after push notifications came on the scene. Augmented reality and Traces could be the turning point in the new messaging phenomenon that will finally make messaging fun.

Any combination can be used of text, music, video, images…you name it and you can send it if it’s digital, including tickets and vouchers. The sender chooses up to a maximum of five people from the contacts list, drops a pin on the map and sets a deadline time when the invitation runs out. The receivers have to get to that point and read the message before the bubble disappears. Lotto believes that social media is today suffering from over-use, being broadcast to everyone. Messaging needs to get back to the basics and we need to return to the understanding that we just can’t socialize with the entire world at the same time.


Apparently, the options are endless and Ripple Inc. is already talking with record labels to see the potential of music sampling and purchasing through the app. Museums could be on for using it to, seeing the potential of guided tours that are fun and innovative. Of course, treasure hunts are up on the list of things Traces could be used for; but there are also things such as poetry readings connected to author-related locations. Imagine arriving at 48 Doughty Street in London at the Charles Dickens Museum and hearing an extract of “Great Expectations” being read out to you. The tourist possibilities are endless too. Visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris, then listen or read how it was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel.

Now, secret messaging has hit the public streets and private messages can be viewed in front of everyone. Through the camera lens the receiver of the message searches for the bubble at the spot they were told to get to. Positioning the target and firing at it, will free the message. So the people hustle and bustle about their affairs, running past you, you stand there reading, listening or viewing the message that was sent to you. Everyone is oblivious and you have entered another world, a digital virtual world that is linked to the physical one.

Just imagine the messaging that could be done; leaving the review of the café down the road that serves bad coffee and stale doughnuts.

Check it out: http://www.traces.io/

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