23. July 2012–
Officially out of beta today, Lover & Hater is a new, free location-based snap, rate and share mobile app for Android (iOS on the way).
It's the first app from Berlin developers Markus Otte, Karsten Bubinger and Florian Odronitz, aka twofloats GmbH. Users take photos (by clicking "love" or "hate" inside the app) and add a short comment. The app adds location and date data and pins the photo to a map accessible by other users, who can also rate it. The more ratings, the more dots appear in the triangles that mark them on the map. To keep the map clean, the least relevant are knocked off.
The original inspiration for the app came from Berlin's street art scene. "We thought, it's a pity there's so much street art in Berlin and it's here today and gone tomorrow," Otte says. But don't call it artsy - no photo filters allowed, and dumped mattresses with spray-paint slogans and that trashed Porsche that used to be at the end of Schönhauser Allee are as welcome as masterwork murals. "We want it raw, opinions and material," Bubinger says.
"Sixth sense" cities
The aspect I'm caught by is the app's potential as an unusual as-you-walk city guide. If the street art archiving takes off, for example, users could take a unique, crowdsourced tour of Berlin armed with nothing but the app, which also learns what you might be interested in and can push notifications to you when you're nearby. The catch is that there's no way – yet – to know if that great piece of street art will still be there.
Otte and Bubinger are – sensibly – keeping development options open until they figure out how users will react to the app. "It might end up that people only use the platform to make photos of dogs they love," Bubinger says.
What he's hoping for are some really polarising images and statements. "That you have something with 500 loves and 501 hates and people really having discussions about that." At the moment, there's not much of a thread discussion function - that's something that will come later, along with user profiles, the ability to follow users and top ten lists.
There's an Amen-like feel to quite a bit of this and Lover & Hater may run into some of the same issues with inappropriate user-generated content (it's something they're aware of and dealing with as a "flag" function for now).
Lover & Hater is free; the business model so far involves giving partners access to the proximity detection technology behind it, unusual in that it works for user-generated content. Twofloats is so far funded through the German government's EXIST programme, with prizes and incubation support from the European Space Agency (ESA).
Whether Lover & Hater becomes a loss leader or an earner in its own right, it's sounds like it's going to be fun - check out the app and let us know what you think.