Vioozer: For answers you can’t find on Google, Yelp, or Twitter
By Steve Jacobs
February 12, 2015 — Santa Cruz
“The potential is huge. How many times have you arrived (at a place) only to find it is closed. What if you could know before deciding? This is what Vioozer is about: helping a fellow human being make a better decision.” — Review on the iTunes store
Vioozer was born out of that desire: take the unknowns and the guess work out of our daily lives by simply and anonymously asking for help. Like Waze for traffic, when it comes to knowing what’s happening somewhere, Vioozer taps the network for assistance — It anonymously links a community member in need of punctual information with another community member that happens to be at that specific place who is willing to help by responding to a query.
It’s the digital equivalent of tapping a stranger on the shoulder and asking for help. We’ve all been that person and we’ve all helped someone with directions, information, or recommendations.
And exactly as taping a single persons shoulder, as the information requested on Vioozer is very much location specific, only a person that is at that precise location will receive the query.
Since announcing our public, Santa Cruz community pilot last week, we’re gaining exiting momentum. Community members are downloading Vioozer on both Apple and Android. We’ve attracted interest from media, public officials, business and neighborhood groups. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are giving us intriguing comments and ideas.
Join the Santa Cruz pilot group
Our Santa Cruz Pilot Facebook group just opened recently for anyone to join, share their personal experience, and discuss better ways for the community to take advantage of the service. (Hashtag: #SCVioozer) We are looking to recruit growth hackers, business development ambassadors, and anyone who wants to help make Santa Cruz the first community in the US where members are helping each other, remotely, punctually anonymously and on a daily basis.
What kind of questions are we seeing?
Questions on the stuff of everyday life that can help save time, effort and even money. For example:
- Crowds and line
- How much do they sell that computer screen for?
- Do they have seats at the Nick or Del Mar?
- Punctual real time Weather forecast: Given the incredible almost street-by-street variability in Santa Cruz, whether Twin Lakes is fogged in while Main Beach is clear.
- And even – How’s the party?
- I’m stuck at work, what’s the vibe at the bar?
- Are they showing the 49’ers game at 99Bottles?
- Before I go downtown, need to know whether all the sale items are gone yet?
- Is the event kid friendly?
- Should we bring a sweater?
- Any tide pools down at the beach?
- How’s the parking around there?
This is information you probably can’t find on Google, read on Yelp, or even ask on Twitter as there is a very low probability this very location specific up-to-date data has just been uploaded, reviewed or tweeted by someone.
In times of need, these queries could help if not be critical in generating situational awareness to the authorities. For example:
- Have you seen a mountain lion walking around your area?
- Did they get that downed tree off the road already?
- Is there power? Do you smell gas on your block?
- Seen a red and blue Pickup truck around this parking?”
Pitcher and Catchers
To use a baseball analogy: by making every community member a pitcher and a catcher, Vioozer can offer a useful service for residents, merchants, public safety officers, in fact anyone who can use Vioozer to replace guesswork and “I think so” with the certitude that can only come from an eyewitness report on the scene.
We are now reaching out to build significant community involvement. We aim to reach each community member with a mobile device so that if, in the course of their daily life, they are in a position to help someone, it will be easy to do so.
Vioozing for a snapshot of now
We aim to make the application simple and fun so that when one of our members needs to make a decision on where to go, instead of reading a month old review, she’s Vioozing for a snapshot of now.