Nextdoor App Could Learn From Waze

GangtsaThere is this really great app and website called Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com).

It brings members of a neighborhood together by operating as a nexus point for their intra-‘hood communication, if you will.

The Nextdoor app is far more effective than Facebook Groups because its structure is more closely aligned to the function of a typical neighborhood.

For example, a primary function of any neighborhood is to remain or become safe for its inhabitants.

One way that is accomplished is by being more alert to what’s going on.

Nextdoor enhances this basic function by providing a way to raise awareness very quickly that something is happening in the area.

Nextdoor App Message screen
Nextdoor’s New Post Window

If one sees a suspicious character, it’s simply a few linese of text into the app (or website), mark it as an urgent alert and every other member gets a text message to their phone.

Awareness raised!

I’ve been playing around with it a lot lately, though, and feel they could do even more to make it easier to post such alerts.

I envision and improvement to be a sort of marriage of function between what Nextdoor does and what the popular crowdsourcing GPS app Waze can allow you to do.

With Waze, when you’re driving along and see a speedtrap, your phone already knows where you are. So that part of the alert or incident is already known.

From there you’re two taps/clicks away from saying what it is you’re recording (in this case, a speed trap–see image below).

Suspicious activity
Waze GPS App – Report Window

Back to our neighborhood issues, Nextdoor could benefit from this same sort of user interface enhancement.

Today I was riding my bike to my office a few blocks away from my house (I know, horrible commute).

Still in my neighborhood, I spotted a pretty suspicious looking fellow walking down one of the main residential roads. I know for a fact he doesn’t live in our subdivision. But he was just walking somewhere and I didn’t see enough to bother  the cops with it at that point.

The question is, where is he going? Just passing through or is he just practiced at looking more harmless than the other ganster types and really on his way to sneak into someone’s back door?

This is a perfect use case for Nextdoor.

Only thing is, I’m I’m going somewhere, too–and I’m riding my bike.

So now I have to stop, get off my bike and text/dictate an update to Nextdoor?

Instead, why not make it so that all I have to do is open the app and instantly touch an icon that represents the location of a “Suspicious character”?

A follow-up option could offer me to input the person’s general direction or that they are stationary, which would help neighborhood eyeballs estimate which way to point.

Done!

Others in the area get an update (which could now be very specifically alerted based on their home’s location) and I’m on my way.

I wouldn’t even need to get off my bike.

Often you just want more of the aforementioned eyeballs on the scene–to let people know maybe they should pause from their favorite program or website and take a peek out the window.

Waze does this sort of data collection extremely well. No doubt that helped a lot in making the app easy to use which, in turn, increased the demand and value of the application (rumored to have sold to Google for $1.1 billion recently).

It goes along with the old adage “if you want people to do something, make it easy for them…”

Nextdoor is well on their way to making it easier for neighbors to help neighbors but, in my opinion, they could make Urgent Alerts much easier.

Don’t Hate The Bad News

ShineonYou can probably finish this phrase: “What you give is what you ____.”

I think that’s largely true because we all agree it is, but that’s as metaphysical as I’m going to get in this post.

Recently I’ve had a few friends kvetch about the amount of bad news they see friends posting on Facebook and threaten to block anyone who posts such needlessly.

It’s a fair thing to do. We all get to choose our friends and thus, by extension, what we see from the friends we keep.

I’d like to offer another view though. Continue reading Don’t Hate The Bad News

Amazon automatically refunded my movie after crappy viewing experience

Just got this to my inbox today. We tried to watch Home Alone Christmas Eve and it was a particularly poor viewing experience.

It seemed like we had to restart the video about 10 times.

We finally got through it and I forgot about it.

Then this:

Amazon refund 2014-12-29_16-07-57

I’ve always been a big fan of Amazon as both a consumer and a seller so this shouldn’t really surprise me, but it did–and pleasantly so!

Use Google Inbox Snooze to Place for Coupons

If you get coupons and like to use them, but often forget to like I do, Google’s new Inbox reminders/snooze feature might be of interest.

Here’s a coupon I received today from Michaels.

Inbox Snooze to Place

We like to go in there for homeschool craft ideas, picture frames and the like, so I would like to use this one–especially since it’s a decent discount and doesn’t seem to have an expiration.

So all I need to do is remember to use it.

Google Inbox snooze to place to the rescue!

You can now snooze emails to a time or a place.

So I just looked up my local store’s address and popped it into the place field after clicking on the click in the email (you can see it just above the “Pick place” dialog in the image above).

I’m going to try and test this by visiting Michaels in the next day or so.  I’ll post an update on how it works.

Google Inbox: First Impressions

Wow. HUGE update to Google’s email experience with the new Inbox app for both desktop and mobile.

Definitely a cleaner, more focused feel.

Really like the Compose (aka: “+” ) favorites showing who I email the most.  That’s a nice touch.

And reminders right there too…hmmm. May have to revisit certain reminders which I’ve been tossing into Evernote for lack of a better path.

Also, now that all travel related mail is in one place, it’s clear I need to do more of that. ;-) Continue reading Google Inbox: First Impressions

How to create custom maps on Google Maps app

The other day I happened to notice some nice upgrades to Google Maps and made a note to play around with how to create custom maps on Google Maps app  over the weekend.

So far all the kids are still asleep so this is my last chance an opportune time to play.

Basically you can export your contacts into a file and then import them into a Google Map of your creation. Continue reading How to create custom maps on Google Maps app

How to post pictures on Pinterest from your Gmail

gmail to pinterestIf you like to post pictures on Pinterest and you use Gmail for your email,  you’ll want to read this.

Someone sent me  some Pin-able images and I found myself struggling to get them to Pinterest.

Here’s how I finally did it:

  1. Share to Google+ (which I usually do anyway) by hovering over the image and clicking the “Share” button that appears
  2. Go to your profile on G+ and click on your new post of that image.
  3. Click on Pinterest extension in Chrome (or use the bookmarklet in some other browser).

Voilà!

Bonus: using the Chrome Pinterest button means you can also share to Twitter and Facebook from there. So you’ve shared to four social media in a few short steps by simply starting with Google+.

Enjoy!