Connecting the World – One Phone Camera at a Time

By Toni Ellis |

It’s a Sunday night, and you’re thinking about heading out to a new club or restaurant. But you’re also wondering: is it crowded, what’s the dress code, how long is the line, and is it even worth going? New app eyeQuest is here to help, providing the opportunity to make real-time requests about any location in Berlin.

Users request information on a certain place, and eyeQuest finds someone who has checked in nearby who then receive a notification on their phone. They can then answer this request (called an ‘Eyequest’) with a photo or video, as well as with optional text (the responses being called ‘Eyeshares’).

Thomas Brüggemann, who co-founder the startup along with his brother Lüder, told Silicon Allee: “In the best case, another user is already at the location the request is for. However, if there is a user only a short distance away, they’ll also receive the notification, and have the option to travel the few hundred meters to the location to respond too.”

But what incentive do eyeQuest users have to go out of their way just to take a photo for someone they don’t know? That’s where the gameplay aspects of the app come in. EyeQuest incorporates elements of game-ification, rewarding frequent users with points and virtual trophies similar to Foursquare’s badges, with future plans to convert these online rewards to real prizes to the most active users.

Motivating People to Share

“We rely very much on a active community,” Thomas added. “Without that, eyeQuest won’t work. But if you are active on the platform, we want to give a real reward for that, and we hope this will be the motivation for people to share.”

The brothers – Thomas is based in Berlin while Lüder is in Bremen – founded the company in 2010. Around Christmas time, they were debating which of two parties to go to, and found themselves wishing they could see what was going on at both to help them make their minds up. They joked, ‘maybe there’s an app for that,’ and the idea stuck.

Thomas now hopes eyeQuest will help encourage connections between people around the world through their smartphone cameras: “If you want to see a view from a certain building, or you see a certain event breaking on Twitter, and you want a live visual of what is happening, you can send a request and someone there will be able to show you. Things are always so much easier to explain in a photo or video.”

And while similar services do exist (such as US-based Localmind), eyeQuest is the first of its kind to be available in Germany. Currently only implementing their basic concept and service, they hope to be introducing many of the their future plans, such as tangible rewards and a follower system in the coming year. The app is currently in closed beta testing, but will be available in the iPhone app store and Android market in the coming weeks.