21
Jul
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Introduction

Over a year ago, I reviewed an interesting life journal app called Friday. The app aimed to record every single interaction a user had with their smartphone, including calls, texts, mails, photos, social activities, and songs played. My conclusion was that while Friday was a polished app, it was doubtful whether it would actually be useful. The developer Dexetra then spent a year running alpha and beta tests, and their latest version of Friday is a lot more polished, with an improved focus.

Updates to Friday

In terms of overall function, Friday has not changed very much. It collects a variety of information about what you are doing and then displays it, with answers and analytics. However, the updated version now sports:

  • a polished user interface (timewarp displays a list of recent events),
  • social media support (Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare),
  • granular control of what to monitor (calls, messages, music, photos, and location),
  • an option to add your own "events" (e.g. songs listened to, films seen, books read, sports played, etc.), and
  • an option to choose monitoring frequency.

2012-07-21 17.00.44 2012-07-21 17.17.23 2012-07-21 17.17.17

2012-07-21 18.12.51 2012-07-21 17.17.11 2012-07-21 17.16.34

One of the major complaints I had with Friday was that it constantly monitored everything I was doing on my phone. Privacy concerns aside, this was a huge battery drain. It looks like Dexetra has addressed this issue by including an option to save battery or record more information.

Additionally, I really like the updated interface. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it provides a quick and easy way of scanning through your past events.

Answers and Analytics

Friday also lets you search your history by either asking questions in plain English or by selecting a particular date.

2012-07-21 18.18.37 2012-07-21 18.14.30 2012-07-21 18.18.47

I have been a little sceptical of this feature as I could never think of any reason to search for my interactions with a particular user or on a particular date. Your mileage may vary, but this is something that I do not see myself using much.

Applets

Most recently, Dexetra has opened up Friday's API to allow developers to build "applets". These applets are separate apps that use information indexed by Friday to make the users experience better. Dexetra gave us some idea of what the applets could do, for example:

    • An app that notifies user when the phone is running low on battery and there is a charger in proximity.
    • And alternate dialer app, which, rather than showing the recent calls log, shows the list of users you are most probably going to call based on your context. It automatically shows my girl friend's number on top when I am at my home and it is late night :)
    • An app that shows you a daily travelogue, and activity graph.
    • And many more such apps.

One of the applets created by Dexetra is Trails. It is not very different in terms of functionality to Friday itself, but instead of a simple list of events Trails places flags on a virtual map identifying various events.

trailsscreen1 trailsscreen2 trailsscreen3

In my opinion, applets is a fantastic idea! One of my main criticisms of Friday, originally, was that while the data it was collecting was interesting, it lacked usefulness or relevance. Did I really need to know who I called and when? Even if I did, there was always a call log for that. However, with the launch of applets there are numerous interesting possibilities for using all the raw data collected by Friday.

Conclusion

Friday has always been a bit of a dark horse for me. It does not appear to solve any problem that I currently have, however if developers do indeed come up with interesting applets I could be convinced otherwise. Dexetra have clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this app and it is definitely worth a look see. If you are in doubt, check out their hilarious video.

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.tobeck Paul Tobeck

    I was asked to review Friday for AppLover a while back. My conclusion? I agreed with you and told them I can't see a use for this app. Log everything I'm doing? Umm, no. Hell, I get annoyed if theres more than 10 text messages still on my phone! (never understood those people that keep thousands of "whassup bro" texts on their phones)
    Maybe some scrapbooking-type moms might find use in recording everything they do, but I don't. A very niche app at best.

  • Kaero

    Honestly, this seems like an extremely useful app for law enforcement. If they had access to a suspects smartphone this app would nicely organize all the information that they would have to sift through, especially if the suspect made use of all the social networks supported. Other than that it just seems really creepy. Sure, it's interesting to look at my Calendar at the end of the year to see what I did before I throw it out but this is just overboard.

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