Pherophone Help 1.5.2

What do I do?

Pherophone lets you sense local messages left by other Android users, along with users of Twitter who have geotagged their tweets, and also leave messages yourself. Start off by leaving yourself a message with the Drop tab, and then move away from it and see if you can still detect it and the location of your drop. Then start leaving messages, about things you find or events taking place, and search for drops from others!

Pherophone has four tabs to help you interact with the local pherophone environment.


image 2 The sniff tab lets you detect if there are any current drops near where you are. A drop has three properties: the message, the intensity, and the relative direction from your current location.

image 2 When you are at the location of a drop, you will see a circular icon, as shown here. This indicates that you are within 10 meters of where the drop was released.

image 2 Otherwise, if the drop is located nearby, you will see the pherophone icon pointing the way to the drop. This icon rotates as you move your phone, based on the current compass reading. Compass readings are not always accurate because of the metallic content of your environment.

The intensity of a drop is shown below the message in green. This is a number between 1 and 0. As a message dissipates, the intensity will fall. Also, the intensity of a drop is lower at the edge of the drop than at the center. So, if you are moving toward a drop and the intensity increases, you know you are moving fast enough to find the center of the drop before it disappears. Drops are ordered by intensity in the list, such that the most intense messages are on top.

To display the full message of a drop, tap on it in the list and it will appear in a dialog box. You can choose to ignore this drop forever, or echo the drop and repeat it from your own location.


image 2 You can drop a message into the environment at your current location using this tab. Type your message in the text window and set it free.

Another option is the recurring Breadcrumb. Select this button, and your message will be dropped at repeated intervals, prefaced with the text "[crumb]" to let others know this is part of a trail.


image 2 The map zooms in on your current location when sniffs are detected. You are shown in the map by the small blue circle. Again, if you are at the location of a drop, a green circle will denote current drops. Otherwise there will be a beam of green pointing in the direction of the detected drops. This green beam will become more transparent as the intensity of the drop fades to zero.


image 2 In this tab you can select your preferences for Pherophone, namely if the app should notify you when new drops are detected, and if this notification should also involve a vibration and LED blink.

Your drops can be highly concentrated or widely dispersed, and travel fast or slow. The maximum range is 5000 meters, approximately 3 miles, so a drop set for 6 hours will travel out from your location at 0.5 Miles Per Hour, while a drop set for 10 minutes will travel at 20 Miles Per Hour.

Where is everybody?

image 2 Pherophone was released in July 2010, and already has over 300 users leaving pherophone drops around the world! However, the chances of someone else leaving drops near your location are still very slim. It is more likely you will find other users who are on Twitter. Here are some things you can do to find more users.

Learn how to use this app, by dropping messages as a trail for yourself and then track how they disperse.

Share this app with other users you meet with Bump.

Talk about Pherophone on Twitter and Facebook, let others know you using Pherophone.

The more users who have this app, the more useful it will become for everyone.

Why can't I see my own drops?

image 2 If you are traveling faster than the drops, in a car or on a bicycle, it is likely you are outpacing the dispersal of your drops. The fastest a drop can travel is 15 MPH. Also, the GPS can be a little imprecise with it's location, so your drop might be 20 meters to the left of your updated location, and you will just have to wait for it to arrive.