Ahoy and Ahoy! Lite allow direct exchange of address book entries

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by josgraha, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. josgraha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #1
    Pretty cool app out there called Ahoy and Ahoy! Lite which allow sharing contact information directly between iPhone or (Internet enabled) iPod Touch. Basically it works by selecting a contact from the Address Book and then pushes that data into the cloud where another user can see the shared entry and add it directly to their address book. Here are the screens.
    [​IMG]
    The "Add a Contact" tab shows who is sharing their information.
    [​IMG]
    The "Share Contact" tab allows the user to pick an address book entry and share it with the world (until they close the app).

    It cleanly solves the missing bluetooth contact exchange feature prevalent on other platforms and makes it easy at the same time. You open the app, select a shared contact and add it or share your contact information and the receiving user can add your shared information. Makes it easy if you meet someone at an event and you don't have to tediously text or otherwise add the contact info by hand. Sure it's probably missing a few features but it definitely does the job. Here are the App Store links.

    The free version only allows sharing an email address, name (or company), and phone number. That probably accounts for 98% of my address book.
    The pay version allows sharing extra information such as addresses and links (home page etc.) and attaches the image (if there is one) from the address book entry.
     
  2. mgoertz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #2
    This is going to be sick for conferences and meetups!!

    review - :D

    just got this app it worked really well!Of course i got the free one first, AhoyLite, and tried it out with a friend. The free one doesn't allow you to share photos, as advertised, so i spent the 2.99 on AhoyBasic, to share my photo and other address book stuff.

    This is going to be sick for conferences and meetups!!

    thaks ifunapps!
     
  3. Rojo macrumors 65816

    Rojo

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Brookyln
    #3
    Wait....so how exactly does this work? A contact is sent into a "cloud"? Do people using this have to be on the same network? Do only local people see the contact? Or can ANYONE using the app see it and import it? Sounds pretty dangerous to me, if that's the case.

    Since this requires two people with iPhones AND this particular app installed in both in order to work, it seems like it would be of very limited use, no? :confused:

    And call me crazy...but I have this sneaky feeling the two posters above me have something to do with the app. :p
     
  4. josgraha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #4
    I have something to do with the app since I was one of the developers but feel free to trash it or just point out anything you don't like. I got big shoulders and can handle it. :) It's in our best interest to release the best quality software we can (blah blah). We are working on a white paper that breaks down some of the technical specifics. By "cloud" I mean data service and by "data service" I mean Google's GData API. At least until it does not serve our purpose but for now it works great.

    That is correct in that you need 2 iPhones to share the information with the app installed, but the purpose of the app is for "real time" sharing so this would be better for an event or social gathering where a couple of iphones could quickly exchange data. We are currently looking into adding a feature for both the free and pay versions that would persist contact information indefinitely and enable sending a link to download that contact via email. But the primary use case is for "real time" contact sharing where 2 people have the application and need to exchange address book entries. You only have to be on the same "internet" for it to work. Though the joys of ad-hoc provisioning we have tested this app among a small but enthusiastic community. You won't see me posting hype or BS just the straight dope on what it does and gathering input on what it "should" do that would make contact exchange easier.

    Cheers,
    Joe
     
  5. DreamPod macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
  6. Rojo macrumors 65816

    Rojo

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Brookyln
    #6
    I'm not looking to trash it, just curious (and cautious) about how it works.
    Not really sure if my question about whether ANY person using the app can see ANY contact going to "the cloud" was answered.

    If it works where you have to choose a specific person (who also has the app) to push the contact to, and the contact info is then sent (preferrably encrypted) just to that user who must then accept the incoming contact -- then fine. However, if it's just pushing a contact to some "cloud" where potentially anyone using the app can grab it, then that can be very dangerous -- especially if it's a detailed contact with a lot of personal info.

    Some more clarification on exactly how the app works would be lovely...
     
  7. josgraha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #7
    Here's how it works.

    Add a shared contact to your address book.
    Preconditions: 2 people are simultaneously using Ahoy and one person is sharing an address book entry.
    Postconditions: The shared address book entry will be added directly to your address book.
    Tap the "Add a Contact" tab and you will see who is currently (synchronously) sharing a contact entry from their address book. If someone is sharing their information you can click on the table row and that takes you to a "details view" where you can see the details of the contact (such as email addresses, phone numbers etc.). Click the "Add" button to add the contact to your address book.
    [​IMG]

    Share a contact with others
    Preconditions: 2 people are simultaneously using Ahoy and the receiver is looking at the "Add a Contact" tab
    Postconditions: You will have shared an entry from your address book and the receiving user will have added your shared entry to their address book.
    Tap the "Share Contact" tab and click the Share button. This will bring up an action sheet and if you do not have a contact currently shared you will push the "Start Sharing" button otherwise you would push the "Change Shared Contact" button. This launches the Address Book picker which allows you to pick a contact from the list. Once you select a contact it becomes shared because it is persisted by the data service. While the service is persisting the contact so others may see it, a spinning gear appears on the top left corner of the screen.
    [​IMG]
    Action Sheet that appears when you click the share button.
    [​IMG]
    The "Share Contact" tab when you are currently sharing a contact.

    This means that "anyone" with that app open simultaneously (note that's simultaneously only) can see who is sharing "right now." We think this is the most useful approach for synchronous sharing since you may be at a trade show or a bar and just want to grab someone's contact info. This also assumes that two users don't know anything about each other except they maybe they are speaking with each other in the same location or on the phone and maybe all they have to go on is a name and/or company name. The point-to-point sharing you mentioned is more of an "asynchronous" mechanism and that is discussed in more detail below.

    The data is protected 2 ways, one is that it is the AT&T network for Edge and 3G stuff and the other is that most HTTP calls are done over https. Also contacts are added and inserted directly from the data service to the address book. There is no intermediary step where your data would be cached somewhere. However this does assume that you _want_ to share your information with others so when your contact entry is persisted by the data service it is visible to anyone who has Ahoy open simultaneously. However once you shut down the app the entry is deleted and no longer visible to other users.

    We think we got the "Synchronous" sharing down pretty good but that leaves us with the "Asynchronous" sharing features missing in the 1.0 release. We typically don't discuss future releases but this is a rumors site so here goes. We are working on tweaking the UI to better handle both synchronous and asynchronous contact sharing. Where synchronous is how the app works today. Two users must be simultaneously using the application to exchange contact information. We are implementing new screens for our next "major" release that will allow information to be persisted even after the application is closed via an "identities" metaphor that will flag whether a contact is shared "offline" and whether a contact is being shared right now. We think that the asynchronous mechanism would work much more closely to what you mentioned with respect to "point-to-point" contact sharing or sharing your information with another user with some piece of information (such as email address or phone#). We had to introduce the concept of "Groups" that will make this new asynchronous contact sharing very cool (we think). We welcome any ideas, suggestions, or feature requests here.

    Sorry I tend to suck at technical docs but thanks for keeping the discussion going. As always we appreciate any and all feedback we get (good or bad), so thanks again.

    BR_joe
     
  8. josgraha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #8
    yep, that's wot we get for waiting too long to release the thing. But those little chimps can really "hit the bricks" :D
     
  9. josgraha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #9
    One more thing worth mentioning. You are sharing Address Book entries here and the Lite (free) version which is the one everyone is busy getting right now. :) The free version limits you to share only certain fields such as name, phone number, and email addresses. You don't even get to share the Address Book photo with the free version (sorry that's lame huh?). However if you are worried about maybe sharing your phone number or your favorite email address, simply go into your address book and create a "Safe" version of the contact you want to share and share that. Again this assumes people are wanting to synchronously exchange contact information such as a new business contact who would not otherwise know anything about each other. Works great at gatherings and events where there are lots of people to meet and little time to enter that contact info.
     

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