By Alec Ostapovicz

In 2010, Caterina Fake was camping with her daughter in a ring of redwood trees. It was so beautiful; she wanted to remember that moment forever. Instead of just carving into one of those trees, she wanted to put that memory online. To be able to share this memory with the internet, she created Findery, the extraordinary new interactive Google map application. Ms. Fake did not just jump into what we would consider unknown territory in the realm of coding and creation. Fake has been extremely successful in adding incredible products onto the internet, such as the photo storage Flickr. So when it came to creating another new and innovative product, she was ready for the challenge. So let’s first define what is Findery, next how Findery was even feasible, before finally discussing the goals that Findery hopes to, well, ‘find’.

The official logo for the application Findery.

The official logo for the application, Findery.

Watch this video for a better understanding of what Findery is and how easy it is to use:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zB-rLePEDQ

Findery takes sharing to a new level. The main purpose of Findery is to create an interactive map where users can share personal experiences, stories, and/or background to geographical locations. This app has around 28,000 note takers and is growing everyday. With the increase in people sharing, this has become a better way not only to better know our neighbors, but also interesting strangers. If you are hesitant about sharing notes with everyone, they give you options of either making them private or sharing them with only specific friends.

With the help of Google maps, Fake and her team have been able to apply Google maps in a new way. Google maps have been known to be an exceptional tool to create directions, use satellite images, and view street roads. However, ever since google release Google Maps API (basically the code that is used for Google maps) in June 2005, developers around the world have been creating their own products with it. By opening up its code to developers, many applications have been brought out of it, including Findery. In simple terms, Findery uses the maps provided by Google and covers it with a unique code to create the new application.

Fake describes Findery as a liberal arts paradise. Because of the freedom and ability to post whatever you want to share on this ‘living atlas’, Findery attracts many artists and writers to share. Some businesses have also started to join the Findery community seeing that this is a great opportunity for the companies to broaden their audiences. Teachers have also begun to use this application in the classroom to share experiences in a geographical sense. Many photographers and writers have been taking advantage of it as well. Here is an example of a poet posting about an experience in Hawaii.

This is a unique poem that someone was able to post about their trip to Hawaii

Although Findery might sound like just another place to post a status, it’s goal is much more inspiring. Caterina Fake told entrepreneur.com that the goal is to “give the world back to people, have them look up from their devices and see the world around them.”

This application is easy to use, easy to share, and easy to learn. I decided to make an account and write my first note. Within the time I went to bed and woke up, I had received four favorites (basically Facebook likes) and two friendly comments. I was on the map, literally! The notes that I have since left on Findery are personal stories that I felt were nice to share with downtown Harrisonburg. My notes can be viewed here:

With using Findery personally, there is a unique aspect that comes by this product. Findery allows me to form a unique connection to Harrisonburg on the internet. By posting a note onto Findery, I am reflecting on an experience while also allowing an audience to reflect on it as well. It is like a blog, but adds the dimension of putting your blog onto a map.

Findery’s future is expanding in all sorts of ways. First, Findery is planning on launching a mobile app to correspond with the website as soon as this summer. Along with the app, Fake shares that many updates will be made on Findery to incorporate secret notes and encourage the idea of it being an adventure machine. This means that it should be encouraging its users to explore and share its communities. Specifically for JMU, many students conform to the ‘JMU bubble’ where students rarely, if at all leave campus.

There are some layout issues that need to be addressed. For example, no matter what page you are on, there is always a note that is featured. While looking for other notes, the featured note is always on the screen. With this being an application that only became public since October 2012, problems are bound to appear in the early months; however, the pros and potential that this application offers far outweigh the cons.

There are so many cool, neat, and ingenious apps that are coming out daily. Findery is one of those new revolutionary tools for any audience. Let’s take a step outside and explore, share, and discover this world together.

 

Works Cited:

Fake, Caterina. “I’m Caterina Fake, and This Is How I Work.” Lifehacker. Caterina Personal Blog, 15 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

Taylor, Bret. “Official Blog.” : The World Is Your JavaScript-enabled Oyster. Google, 29 June 2005. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

“Findery.” Findery. Chazin99, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

Eha, Brian. “Caterina Fake’s Findery Aims to Be an ‘Adventure Machine'” Entrepreneur. N.p., 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.