Runkeeper is innovating. That’s more than you can say for other companies

So I had this Runkeeper post planned for a while. After all, my original review from 2009 was getting a bit old. I know that some people use Runtastic, Runmeter or Dailymile, but I wanted to have a look at Nike+ today and see if my verdict still held, especially from the social point of view. And phew, did it ever. This might be a Europe uses Runkeeper vs. America uses Nike+ thing but the gist of my network says 4 people use Nike+ compared to about 25 using Runkeeper. And among the Nike+ users were 3 Americans (so not really helpful). So that is settled. Then the new Runkeeper update happened and PandoDaily commented it prompting me to start writing.

Let’s address the second only briefly and firstly. The author has most likely never used the app before, otherwise he wouldn’t have argued that Runkeeper is now the latest fitness app jumping on the social bandwagon. Sorry, man, but the RK Street Teams and sharing options have been around for years. The difference is that the feature now is on the mobile app with faster access to the social graph.

But, this Runkeeper update is really quite cool. I can now nudge my neighbour across the hall to get his lazy bum on the street, have a better structured overview of my activities and can set reminders for the next work-out (which will help actually running more often, I am sure). It would be better even, if I could see what kind of activities my friends have performed – a click on the name on the leaderboard at the moment does nothing.

In my experience the app sometimes still messes up the GPS-tracking, thusly messing up speed and distance but over the years these instances have become rare anomalies. What’s more, I really like how the company has expanded, has taken hold of the online Health Graph, has rebooted it’s focus to get closer to its community again and is continuing to help its customers to get more fit.

Es soll keiner sagen, er habe es nicht gewusst

Zwei Ereignisse haben mir vor kurzem eröffnet, wie weit in der Zukunft wir schon leben. Und wie wenig “die Welt” darüber zu wissen scheint. Sprich, unsere Eltern, viele StudiVZ-Kinder – zu viele Menschen.

Schon mal mit iPhoto in der iLife 09-Version gespielt? Die “Gesichter”-Funktion getestet? Alle die sich fragen, wie man damals den Kofferabsteller beim vereitelten Attentat in Köln gefunden hat, würden es verstehen, wenn es diese Funktion jetzt sogar schon für Ottonormalverbraucher gibt, nicht nur fürs Militär oder entsprechende Agenturen. Für die, die es nicht kennen: Man nimmt sich ein Foto, wählt ein Gesicht, sagt dem Programm, dass es sich bei dem Gesicht um “Peter” handelt – und der Rechner guckt sich dann alle Fotos an und findet Peter. Dies kann man bestätigen. In erstaunlich vielen Fällen handelt es sich tatsächlich um Peter, manchmal auch Mario oder Marion, aber fast immer Peter. Wenn man dem Rechner so zuschaut, dann muss es echt klick machen: Man stelle sich vor, was mit dem gigantischen Datenmaterial z.B. aus Londoner CC-Kameras alles so angestellt werden kann. Oder den Daten von den Kameras auf deutschen Autobahnen. Oder Bahnhöfen. Patriot Act, anyone.

Dazu die tatsächlichen Geodaten-Fähigkeiten. Wenn ich jemals wieder einen Tatort sehe, bei dem der Mordverdächtige telefoniert und die Polizei nicht weiß, wo er ist, schalte ich ab (schwierig, ohne Fernseher, ich weiß, but still).
Man erinnert sich vielleicht an meine Runkeeper-Empfehlung. Das Programm hat sogar aufgezeichnet, wenn ich die Straße überquert habe. Das heißt, dass mein Mobilfunk-Provider eigentlich immer weiß, wo ich bin. Und zwar deutlich genauer, als man sich das so vorstellt. (ob er das darf oder nicht ist nicht mein Punkt).

In der Konsequenz sind dies also schon zwei Möglichkeiten, meinen Aufenthaltsort, Bewegungsgeschwindigkeit und in gewissen Grenzen auch Tätigkeiten zu tracken. Nicht das ich da Angst vor habe, ich weiß ja nun, was mindestens geht. Ich dachte nur ich sag’s mal laut…

Runkeeper: Not just a nike+ alternative

The faithful reader knows I loved my nike+ setup. I used my wife’s iPod and bought not the shoes but a contraption that would hold the transmitter. Shoes were either ugly or too expensive. Often I complained about nike+ working on iPod Touch but not iPhone, but no longer.

My new favorite toy is the iPhone application Runkeeper (website, app store link). It basically does the same thing nike+ does: record data about your run and you can share it, too.

Here is how that looks on the iPhone:

You should turn off Wifi for the run, but aside from that it works like a charm. I started the playlist before launching the app and thanks to “two taps on home key open iPod”-settings, I could maneuver through songs I didn’t feel like with ease. I am actually pretty close to purchasing the premium app because the ads at the bottom confuse me…

I also like the fact that the devoloper is super reachable via Twitter and always answers all questions.

Naturally, there is a blog, too, and Jason offers great insight into Building a Startup in this Economy. I still find it very interesting that Apple would feature Runkeeper in it’s ads, since I believe Runkeeper is essentially a competitor, but what do I know.

I’d like to see more widgets, for example one that shares the workout history so that I wouldn’t have to bore the readers of this blog with a post about every workout, but I that may come (and I might share each run anyway).

Comparing the last few workouts this month to the last time I used the nike+ set (about a year ago), I am still very slow, but I’ll be getting there.

In conclusion, I holeheartedly recommend Runkeeper to track your runs. Just think about whether you want to share your location before you transmit it, but that will be the topic of a follow-up post.