This week's 5 hot new apps: Translate the World Cup with Futebol Portugal; Facebook's not so secret Slingshot; more
For fans of soccer, the game is a universal language. The plays, the players and the goals require no translation. However, Brazil itself is another story. For fans traveling to the South American country for the World Cup, Rosetta Stone released a special edition of its Travel series called Futebol Portugal. The app is designed to give on-the-spot help with Portugese and gives lessons with a focus on soccer. It provides colorful graphics and helpful vocabulary to get around, and is available for free for both iOS and Android.
Facebook has wanted to break into the instant image messaging game for a long time, and no story better highlights that than its unsuccessful $3 billion bid for Snapchat. So with failed projects not entirely in the rearview--Poke was shut down less than a month ago--the company accidentally launched an early version of its latest endeavor on the Apple app store for a few hours. Called Slingshot, the app will center around the Mission Impossible idea of self-destructing messages. Not to come off as an exact copy of the popular Snapchat, there is reciprocity present in the back-and-forth messaging ecosystem: you must send a pic in order to unlock one sent to you.
While expansive social networks are ensuring the shrinking anonymity of the Internet, some apps are embracing it. Local rumor propagator Secret announced a new feature Tuesday called "Secret Dens," which ratchets up the locality by restricting threads to precise buildings and addresses. As a TechCrunch article notes, Secret is taking a different approach to its functionality than similar apps like Yik Yak and Whisper. While those two programs have taken steps to moderate discussion and decentralize rumors--all in an effort to prevent cyberbullying--it seems like this latest move by Secret will further consolidate and isolate content, making it harder to oversee.
Canaan Partners agreed Monday to provide $10.5 million worth of funding for laundry app Washio. The on-demand startup takes a similar approach to laundry as Uber does to shuttle service. Simply place an order and a time for pickup, and a "ninja" will swing by to pick up your dirty clothes. You can watch the cleaning progress in realtime on your phone and be ready for their sparkling return. The service is currently available in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC, but this new round of funding should help the company expand.
The process of asking a local about the best restaurants, cheapest place to grab a drink or anything else you could need in a new city is going virtual. Enquire allows the user to create a question that centers around a certain city, and then see the opinions roll in. Unlike similar apps in the same vein, Enquire provides no gamification aspect or social linking. It is tethered locally and the user can only see questions within a certain neighborhood. All of these characteristics lead to an app that is solely focused on its raison d'etre with no gimmicks. While it is only available in New York City, Paris and San Francisco, its website is gauging demand by allowing interested people to vote on the next city it will go to.