- July 13, 2011
Last week’s developer contest with our friends at Twilio yielded a diverse set of entries ranging from an app that reports your Twitter influence to a tool to help you look up valid words for Scrabble. With a theme as general as simply “data”, and the goal was to see what interesting applications our developer communities could make using both Twilio’s API and Infochimps data sets and data APIs. Ultimately, we agreed that Roger Pincombe’s entry, Social Contact, made the best use of all the data available through us. Roger is a previous Twilio contest winner, so he’s no stranger to building fly apps on the fly.
To use Social Contact, all you have to do is send a person’s Twitter username as a text to (203) 403-NAME (6263). You’ll get back an e-mail containing a vCard with as much information as publicly available, including full name, company and title, email (occasionally), phone number (occasionally), home page url, home location (generally city-level), description, summary, Klout, photo, Facebook profile link, and other social profile pages.
“This contest allowed me to solve a problem I’ve been running into a lot recently as a fledgling entrepreneur, remembering all the amazing people I meet on a daily basis. I have a horrible memory, and I’m especially bad with names, so sometimes meeting people again can be kind of awkward. What does he do again? What was her name? With 203-403-NAME, all I have to do is text someone’s twitter username, and I instantly get back a name, photo, job, and sometimes other contact info, ready to be added to my phone’s address book for future reference. Oh, and I have a great domain name, http://contacts.io, that I’ve been wanting to find a use for, so this fits nicely. I’ve got a web interface in the works, which should be ready to go in less than a week.
Social Contest uses the Infochimps Social Identity Mapping API, as well as other sources to boost the robustness of the information returned to the user. Roger notes that the Google Social Graph API was also extremely useful. His code is in C#, running on ASP.NET 4.0.
If you’d like to play around with Social Contact, just send a text to (203) 403-6263 with a Twitter username.
There could only be one winner, but we also wanted to recognize Textable, made by Steve Odom (full disclosure: Steve is an Infochimps contractor, but that doesn’t make his app any less awesome and he didn’t get any special help from us!). Using a variety of the Infochimps data sets, Steve created an SMS application that helps people find important nearby locations in unfamiliar cities.
Say you land in Austin and need to find WiFi quickly. Simply text “wifi AUS” to (512) 782-2513 and you’ll get back a list of nearby places that offer wifi. Text “walgreens 78702″ and you’ll get back nearby Walgreens locations. In general you can text wifi, library, walgreens, and help (Steve is working on adding walmart, atm, and UFOs) followed by a zip code or three-letter airport code. Give it a whirl!
Want to get involved? We’re cooking up ideas for future developer contests. In the meanwhile, Twilio holds developer contests regularly and you can get all the details here. You can also build on any of our data sets and APIs anytime anywhere. Sign up for an API key today.