Recho: Audio Recordings Tied to Specific Places

Recho is an iPhone app that allows users to discover (and record) short audio messages that are tied to specific locations. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to geocaching, where users are given a specific longitude/latitude with the promise of some hidden object. In this case, that object can be a message, a song, a story… anything that someone decides to leave behind.

I really love the idea of discover audio, and found the discovery interface to be quite neat. The creators first pursued this idea of a location-specific app due to their love of podcasts:

“What inspired us to create Recho is our love of podcasts. One day when discussing our favourite episode, we both remembered exactly where we had been when listening to it. And this sparked the question: What if a story belonged to a place and you would have to be at that exact place to hear it?”

Over lunch today, I decided to walk around a bit to see if I could find any messages (and to leave one of my own). While I saw a large number of possible messages, one drawback for me was that I couldn’t tell just how far away they were.

On first glance, they seemed to be a few hundred feet away. I walked for several blocks, and couldn’t tell whether I was getting any closer or not. But on closer inspection, I realized that the messages showing up on my screen were a few hundred kilometers away!

I guess the UI shows me a minimum number of nearby messages (because otherwise, if there were no messages close by the screen would just be blank). This seems like a big challenge with the app, in that it’s got to have a lot of participants/messages for others to want to participate and adopt it.

A tough challenge faced my many a startup, but I really like the concept here. On my walk, even though I didn’t discover any messages by others… I ended up leaving one of my own.

If you’re near Wabash and Jackson… consider downloading the app and have a listen. And if others in Chicago end up playing with this thing, drop me a line (or a location). I’d love to hear what you come up with, and… I’m all ears.

[via Product Hunt]

Audible Frequency
Geocaching for the First Time: Logan Square
Geocaching with the Emmis Interactive Design Team

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. As I was walking around, trying to locate sounds… I was listening to the muffled noises of the city as I headed down Wabash Avenue.

    I was reminded very much of Alicia Frantz, someone I met very briefly before she passed away. I think she would have really loved this project.

    avoision Reply

  2. Alex and I once spent an afternoon talking about this in 1999. We were thinking about the implications of bookmarking physical space, and that led us to the idea of using audio rather than text for passive access to local knowledge about a particular place. So many great things could proceed from there: guided tours during a road trip, biographical/historical insights, even anecdotes from friends and ancestors anchored for the ages. It was a pipe dream then but seems like an inevitability now that GPS is in our pockets, social graphs are established, and mobile bandwidth is improving. The hardest part from a product design perspective would be to support easy, smart filtering so that notes of relevance get suggested based on the user’s interests, contacts, and receptivity at a given time. The Facebook firehose is frustrating enough. But with rich media content? No one’s got time for that!

    Justin Reply

    • Oh, to be able to go back to our 1999 selves.

      There does seem to be an inevitability to audio, doesn’t there? Perhaps now, in the golden era of podcasts, we’ll start to see (hear) more of this kind of thing.

      Funny too that we worked so long in radio (a singular broadcast, meant to encompass a wide range, with the same content for all). This particular app seems to be the opposite: short messages tied to a very specific, physical location (that can be made incredibly private, if so desired).

      I think the content filter challenge is solvable, but further down the road (a good problem to have, really). Right now, the tough part seems to be adoption and content creation. I want to use the app more, but with an absence of recordings near me… I’m less likely to do so.

      avoision Reply

  3. Hi guys,

    I really like this post and the discussion below it. Im one of the founders of the app and it really helps us to understand the potential and the limitations of the app when guys like you start trying it out. So thanks for that.

    One of the things that we have been working with is figuring out how to get people to create great content. Because as you so correctly pointed out, the strict dogma of recho is its advantage AND its problem, people will stop using the app if there are none or only low quality recordings around to find. SO if you have any ideas, please feel free to share!

    Warm regards, Mads

    Mads Reply

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