Mobile App Makes Pen Pals More Convenient


Ever have a pen pal as a kid? Maybe someone in a foreign country, and they’d send you letters in their language and you in yours? You’d spend hours pouring over the contents with your Spanish/English dictionary to hand trying to work out whether he’s talking about herding cows or being a coward.

No? Well, neither did I actually, but now we can with the new iPhone app called Wander. It randomly connects you with another iPhone user, across the world, in a move that hopefully is some kind of new cultural experience for both users, and won’t end up like chatroulette. Firstly, they already excel in the logo department – presentation obviously a must (see Fads and Favorites).

The idea is the phone will flash with someone’s face, you’ll think, “That’s the kind of person I could get along with,” and you’ll click accept, the phone will then advise you to take a picture of your house, your dog, your route to work, what you do in your free time and you’ll give them all these pictures, and they’ll send you ones back, the emphasis seems to be more on, take pictures of where you live, the monuments and cool stuff you’ve got around you (but with the internet being 93 percent cats, there’s going to be a lot of cats, oh, and mirror shots, seeing as how taking a picture of yourself not in a bathroom would be totally uncool).

The only slight worry here, apart from the fact that put two iPhone users in the same room, and the odds are close to 100 percent that they’ll just start talking about iPhones anyway, is the idea that the language barrier will not still be apparent. The text will apparently automatically translate from one language to another to facilitate speech, but would this actually be that seamless? Or will you be stuck in the same old quandary of one person typing “examples” and the other receiving “egg samples.”

My question, how fascinating does this sound? Is it the kind of thing that you’ll only try once, and maybe that time only because you think that whilst the lovely Czech girl is slightly out of your league, this might just work? Or, a natural progression from Friendster (remember Friendster? Anyone?) to Facebook, with the recent advent of the news feed to us all being more interconnected as a species. The creator is already telling Mashable that people have gotten their first passports because of the product, so maybe I’m just being slightly cynical, maybe this will work, bring together people from distant corners of the globe, all thanks to mobile communication.

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