TMCNet:  Making it easier to trade your contact information

[October 25, 2012]

Making it easier to trade your contact information

Oct 25, 2012 (The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Smartphone applications can ease the business of trading contact information with new acquaintances and facilitate on-the-fly video conferences, thus enhancing your social-networking capabilities.


Bump, from Bump Technologies Inc., is a free app for iPhone and Android that passes contact information or photos from one smart device to another by, yes, bumping them together.

The move does not depend on both parties having the same type of phone, and it looks magical. What happens is that both devices communicate with Bump Technologies' cloud servers, which detect the smartphones' locations and their simultaneous "bump" to make an educated guess that the devices are trying to contact each other. Each user has to touch the screen to confirm the exchange.

The first time you launch the app, you'll be asked to "fill out your card" by typing your name, phone number, and e-mail address. Attach a photo, if you wish, to this virtual card.

Now, you can transfer that information and get the same in return at a "light fist bump," as instructed, with anyone else running the Bump app.

You can also pass along information from others in your phone's contact list, or with photos stored on your phone.

The app has a novel way, too, of bumping photos to a laptop or desktop computer. With a bump of the phone against your space bar, the app sends pictures to a website, http://bu.mp, from which you can drag and drop them to any PC folder. The caveat here is that the process works over the Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers, but not via Internet Explorer.

When you can't escape the material world, ScanBizCards Lite, free from ScanBiz Mobile Solutions L.P., lets you take photos of old-fashioned cardboard business cards and send the information on them into your address book.

The app, for Android and Apple devices, detects a slew of printed languages, including in the Greek and Russian alphabets.

The Lite version of ScanBizCards allows you to save only five cards a week to your address book, but unlimited card-scanning is possible. A "premium" edition of the app, which allows unlimited card-saving, costs $6.99.

A free app called ooVoo Video Chat can, among other things, make an iPod Touch work like a video telephone among users of the app. It also works on other Apple and Android mobile devices.

For networking, the software, by ooVoo L.L.C., can conference up to 12 video callers, although 12 Chiclet-size faces, all with squinting eyes, on a smartphone screen could be a bit tedious to watch. (With Skype and a similar video-chat plug in for Google+Hangouts, you can conference up to 10 users).

For desktop use, ooVoo has PC and Mac versions.

Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114, rkanaley@phillynews.com or @ReidKan on Twitter.

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