I wrote a post on saturday asking for an android app that would turn my wifi on and off when I was in certain locations. I got a ton of great comments and installed a bunch of apps on my phone as a result, including Locale, JuiceDefender, Y5, and Tasker. I promised that I'd write a blog post telling everyone what was the best solution for me. This is that post.

Locale, JuiceDefender, and Y5 all do the thing I wanted (turning wifi on and off based on location). Y5 is drop dead simple. You don't need to do any configuration. JuiceDefender is very powerful and can do a lot of things.

But I'm really taken with Locale and it is the solution I opted for in the end. It's not a battery saver app, it's a location configuration app. And I think it is a very smart idea. With Locale you can tune your phone to do different things in different places. Here's some copy from the Locale website:

With Locale, you create situations specifying conditions under which your phone's settings should change. For example, your "At School" situation notices when your Location condition is "77 Massachusetts Ave.," and changes your Volume setting to vibrate.

It's been almost 30 years now, but I still remember that 77 Mass Ave means school (MIT). I guess the team behind Locale is out of MIT. If so, I like this app even more.

Here's what I've done with Locale so far. I've set up Home and Office as "situations" and geolocated them on my phone. I've set wifi to turn on whenever I arrive at eiter location. And I've set wifi to turn off whenever I leave either location. I've set volume to vibrate at the Office and to ring loudly at home (I leave my phone by the front door and don't take it around my house).

I'm trying to figure out how to make Locale turn on Bluetooth when I get in my car and turn it off when I get out. I'm going to try to geolocate my garage and see if I can make that work.

The user interface of Locale is simple and yet fairly powerful. I think it can do so much more and I hope they keep adding features to this app. The idea that I have an intelligent phone that configures itself depending on where I am is very powerful and I think there's a lot of potential here.


Comments (Archived):

  1. zburt

    With regards to you liking the app more because it’s out of MIT, some people might find a recent book review I did to be edifying and insightful.http://zacharyburt.com/2010

    1. fredwilson

      I read your post. I might grab the book on kindle

  2. ErikSchwartz

    It supports plug ins so extension is well supported.

    1. fredwilson

      I should have posted about the platform aspects but I’ve not dug into it. Ilike that they have a platform play

  3. Ivan Vecchiato

    What’s the configuration when you are on your Vespa?I’m just joking, You tweeted about a Vespa sometimes, and as an italian I liked the idea of Fred riding a Vespa in NYC…

    1. fredwilson

      I will work on my vespa configuration!!

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Vespa = Cool mode.

      2. Jevon

        NFC might be a way to detect vehicles? That would be cool.

      3. Vasudev Ram

        I used to ride a classic Piaggio / Vespa 150 cc years ago, like the models shown in picture at the top right of this page:http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…I liked it, though in general I’m more a fan of motorbikes than scooters. Very reliable, hardly ever broke down, and a fairly powerful engine too.What model is your’s, Fred?Reading that Vespa Wikipedia above, it was interesting to see that the original Vespa’s were actually inspired by Cushman scooters from Nebraska, used a lot in Italy during World War II.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Their Eagle model looks good too – a scooter that looks like a motorcycle :-)- Vasudev

    2. kenberger

      On my scooter (Piaggio MP3, parent company of Vespa), I have a mounted GPS/bluetooth media player, and I wear a bluetooth helmet with speakers and a mic inside.I have things set up so that when I approach the bike with either my Nexus S 4G, Galaxy Tab, or iphone in my pocket, the phones shutoff wifi for the duration of that BT connection, try to grab a 4G or at least 3G connection, and are ready to stream pandora or earbits.com. And i can take a call in safety while riding.

  4. Dan Epstein

    Hearing about this kind of application is when I wish my iPhone was more like an Android in some ways. The configuration options for Android sound pretty awesome (notifications would be another example of Android envy). Anybody know of a similar app for iPhone? I noticed that all four apps Fred looked at are Android only.

    1. fredwilson

      Android is extensible

    2. CJ

      Tasker was the nail in the coffin that convinced me to switch from the Pre to Android. I like my smart phone to actually be smart, though since I’ve left there has been a lot of development on this front for WebOS.

      1. fredwilson

        “I like my smartphone to be smart”Word

  5. Derek Libb

    Not sure if Locale supports this or not, but Tasker allows you to use being paired with a specific bluetooth device as the signal to perform certain actions.If Locale supports something similar that would probably be the most reliable way to set up an automobile profile.

  6. RichardF

    I’m far more interested in a device/services like this than the current vogue for location based services and applications that want to broadcast your location/use your social network and ultimately just sell to you. I appreciate that using your social graph can be useful, just not all the time.I’ll happily pay for the utility of a service or an app rather than constantly be sold to.Brad Feld, via his blog, introduced me to Daniel Suarez’s books “Daemon” and sequel “Freedom” which are great thrillers with a techie twist. I want a pair of sunglasses with a HUD system that gives me a location based virtual layer. Mobiles are the first step in that direction. The potential is just awesome.

    1. CJ

      Yes – augmented reality. That would be awesome.

    2. markslater

      100% agree. take control. thats what i want.

    3. ShanaC

      So what kind of services do you think fit more into this category of location/social graph that aren’t selling you?

      1. RichardF

        just some quick thoughts Shana, basically information based services e.g. traffic congestion, where do I find the nearest xyz?. Tourist guides. These sort of apps do exist but as far as I’m aware they are fragmented and cannot easily be personalised to me or a particular situation that I am in (work mode as opposed to leisure/tourist, convenience vs price etc)

  7. aarondelcohen

    For me this post just demonstrates how much I crave app curation. I have no idea how I would know about locale without this post.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. And I went searching for basically this exact app and couldn’t find itvia keyword search in the android marketplace. Come to think of it I shouldhave used a Google web search instead

    2. RacerRick

      appolicious.com is a decent place for “app curation”.

    3. jarid

      If only a company that knew how to solve search problems could get involved with Android.

  8. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Fantastic potential, indeed. Love it.I spent many years in the past involved in ‘traditional’ IT that embraced a lot of ‘Job Scheduling’ types of solutions – which morphed into ‘Workflow Management’ then ‘Business Process Management’ including ETL, etc.As our mobile devices get more and more sophisticated/powerful so we have the need to interact with them less and less, ironically – ie, so many apps, so much data, etc, etc – they need to become a semi-automated device that is pretty much always with us and via more intelligent automated apps the device serves us and our context rather than we driving it pretty much all the time. This WiFi issue has been a great example of this. Mundane to some maybe but a great example of the potential of this approach.The iPhone/Android sector is now crying out for more solutions such as Locale – ones that are extensible to intelligently automate other preferences/schedules/variables based on a whole host of metrics – not just one’s geolocation for examples.Massive opportunity.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      With Tasker you can use other triggers apart from location for the actions you want to launch: time & date, state (docked/not docked, orientation, signal strength…), events related to communications or the phone, application running or custom shortcuts/ widgets the app has to manually/semi-automatically launching actions. You can find the full detail here:http://tasker.dinglisch.net…BTW, I’m not trying to sell the app for any particular reason, I’m just an enthusiastic user 🙂

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Thanks, Fernando – shall check it out 🙂

  9. NickN

    I’m a long time user of Locale. You definitely want to check out the plugins. There are a couple of docking related plugins that probably work for your car situation. I have mine set up so that when I dock my phone to charge it at night, the notification light is turned off.I also have it connected to my Google Calendar so the phone is always in silent if I am in a meeting (very handy).Locale was a finalist in the Android Developer competition. I believe the original lead, Carter Jernigan, is still running it…

    1. fredwilson

      I can’t wait to dig into the plugins and platform

  10. Julien

    I may be wrong, but this isn’t 100% what you described (specifically I remember seeing something where you said you’d want something that ‘tries’ wifi every 30mins or so and switched to it if applicable), and it confirms the “theory” that you can’t listen to your customer, you need to understand them!

    1. William Mougayar

      As the song goes, “one thing leads to another”…

    2. andyswan

      …and you need to SELL them. Most people don’t know what they want until they’re told.

      1. Julien

        This is a slippery slope back to the marketing discussion a couple days ago 😀

        1. andyswan

          When you copy/paste the marketing materials as the highlight of your blog post review….it’s tough to argue against marketing 🙂

        2. Fernando Gutierrez

          Dan Ariely (author of Predictable Irrational… btw, amazing book) wrote yesterday a post about the utility of useless stuff (in his example, bottled air). The thesis was that the desire to own that stuff make us work more and thus can good for the economy.http://danariely.com/2011/0

        3. fredwilson

          Please don’t go there 😉

          1. awaldstein

            Sorry Fred…had to respond somewhat.That discussion was like a toy to my cat. I had to pounce ;)Since I brought him (Sam the cat) up, here he is http://bit.ly/gC5Ctq

        4. awaldstein

          I’ll be glad to jump back into the marketing discussion any time ;)Asking your customer what they want ain’t marketing, it’s just laziness and ignorance and lack of vision.Doing exactly what your customer demands is neither marketing nor listening well nor smart. It’s a non starter.I agree with Andy that you need to work hard to make your customers see what you see and what you built and its value.Thats sales and marketing both. Sometimes the customers do, sometimes not but listening to that interaction and learning from it is what smart companies, including of course Apple, do well. Iterating from there is the road to something, sometimes success.I wrote this on customers a while back @ http://bt.io/GxcU and this on the iterative nature of marketing discovery @ http://bt.io/GxcW.

      2. leeschneider

        That reminds me of a Steve Jobs-ism that I heard. When they were first developing the mouse, some marketers suggested they do focus groups to see what customers wanted. Jobs responded something similar to what you said Andy, which was along the lines of “how are they supposed to critique and give feedback on the mouse if they don’t even know it exists yet.” Wish I could find that exact quote.

        1. andyswan

          Nice.You don’t change the world by asking people what they want.

          1. Geoff

            Or as Henry Ford put it – “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse”.

        2. Kimberly Gillem

          “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. Often, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”—Steve Jobs

    3. fredwilson

      So true

  11. Sharath

    complicating issues more than simplifying them.

    1. Mountainbo

      Can you elaborate on that?

  12. William Mougayar

    These are powerful scenarios.Is there an iPhone app for something like this? If Locale is listening, do you have plans?The next frontier is to marry this with “The Internet of Things”, where the apps/smartphone are not just aware of your location, but also aware of what smart Things you’re next to, and it adjusts its behavior accordingly. This could be accomplished by sticking tiny chips on these things that know who you are when you’re around them, or enabling them with bluetooth.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      I don’t think it’s a matter of the app developer, it’s about what the OS lets them do. And in the case of Android is almost anything.

  13. Guest


    1. CJ


  14. Dave Hopton

    I’m a 20 year old UK student who’s now pretty bummed because he’s found his App idea in the wild!I personally think this has huge scope if it connects with your social graph and other information flows, on top of practical controls over your phone settings. Imagine how useful it would be if you could control the data you receive not just based on your location (which is brilliantly useful) but also depending on the time of day / weather etc.For example, I’d love to be able to shut off Facebook/Foursquare notifications when I arrive at my University Library so I can focus on work, but around lunchtime I’d like to have them turned back on so I could be made aware of friends who may be eating really near me that I could meet up with. Similarly, weather information being sent to me just before I leave home would be really great, but I don’t really care once I’m out of my house.The whole concept behind the idea is that as we get more and more information directed at our mobile devices, being able to filter them geographically/temporally makes the data more valuable.Ah well, back to the drawing board. Would love to see this on an iPhone.

  15. Erik Nordlander

    You’re absolutely right about the MIT connection [ http://eecs-newsletter.mit…. ]. Locale won the team a nice prize in the first Android developer challenge, and some ended up working at Google.

  16. Barry Nolan

    Applications that are innately aware and adaptive to location are immensely powerful. Take credit cards, and one scenario, card fraud. The one constant is that fraud happens when you’re not around. What if my cards were location-aware, only authorizing transactions when I’m present (or request my OK when I’m not around)?

    1. Dave Hopton

      Really nice idea, although what device would you pick to authenticate transactions? If it was a phone then you’d have to have it with you whenever you want to use your credit card, which is potentially a bit limiting.Also, what happens if a woman’s handbag is stolen? Usually contains both her phone and purse 😛

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        I’d use the phone. It’s a bit limiting, but any new device would be worse in that matter. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I went out without my phone. If I had to chose between my wallet and my phone I’d have a tough time (until nfc payments are implemented, when that happens you can have my wallet).The handbag problem is a difficult one.

        1. Dave Hopton

          Agreed, whilst HAVING to have your phone is potentially annoying, I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t carry their phone around with them.NFC unfortunately in my mind doesn’t solve the problem – it actually makes it easier for thieves as it reduces the number of items needed to just 1. Obviously there will be authentication but it’s still troubling.Whilst all that sounds negative, I can’t wait for NFC wallets, it’d be amazing!

          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            NFC wallets can make it easier for thieves, but additional security measures could be implemented to avoid it (introducing a pin number in the phone with every payment, recognizing my face through the camera…).

          2. Dave Hopton

            Facial recognition would be very cool, as would something like audio recognition or maybe even finger-print scanning on a touch screen (don’t know whether that would actually be possible) but the only risk is if the system crashes/doesn’t work, and then you have no access to your money.A pin number is a solid option though, guaranteed to work.

      2. Barry Nolan

        Given that we’re rarely inches from our mobile, the phone is a great proxy for card location. Triggers could apply to transaction values.Re the stolen handbag scenario, that’s usually instantly discovered and killable. Fraud’s 99% scenario commences weeks/months after data compromise, with repeated use usually until credit is tapped out. Amazingly, 75% of the time, the first time your bank discovers fraud, is when you’ve told them (after you’ve been defrauded). In most cases, its the store who gets financially shafted. Huge value also in them knowing authenticity in/near real-time.

        1. Dave Hopton

          Value triggers makes sense.Agree that it’s instantly discoverable, but how do you immediately kill all the services/wipe the data on your phone if you’re away from your home PC? Could be hours before you’re able to do that, so giving more power to your mobile is risky. That said, I’m not against it at all – the potential makes it highly worth it, and the security will evolve to protect data (hopefully).

          1. Barry Nolan

            App PIN entry and anonymized/nicknames instead of a/c-numbers me thinks.

          2. ShanaC

            online, just somewhere online

      3. ShanaC

        This actually happened to me:You file a police report, and head to where there is a landline/computer. From there, you BUY!!!! (some states reimburse) your ids, inform your credit card companies that you card(s) have been stolen. You then hope you have phone insurance, and if you don’t, when you get your card you go to ebay and buy a used phone, and beg your phone company to not count it as an upgrade.Having gone through that situation – I would prefer to have just had the phone stolen, rather than phone and wallet. Mostly because I am sure there will be technology eventually to allow yourself to go into a computer and permanently brick your phone and corrupt the data. Which definitely would make me feel safer…

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      I’m probably too optimistic and there will be many hurdles I can’t see, but I suppose that the payment company could cross the location data associated with the payment terminal with the location data of a phone you register with them (in fact they already do a bit of this when they don’t authorize a charge in a country in which they don’t expect you to be). Phone companies would need to provide this data from their antennas or you could send it from an app in your device. Privacy would probably be an issue, but it seems doable.For internet purchases locating the location of the transaction would be more difficult. You could do something with ip address, but that’s not too precise and it’s easy to conceal, so maybe they should always trigger a confirmation. I don’t know in the US, but in Spain many banks offer to be sent a text with every charge in the credit card so you can cancel the card immediately just replying to it if you don’t recognise it.

      1. Barry Nolan

        With smartphones, no need to involve the carriers. The roaming scenario typically causes most hassle – one of my cards was denied three times in my last five international trips – obviously out of band from the FIs fraud watch systems. Agree text works great but SMS has particular challenges. Uppermost its an expense (the ave debit tx generates $0.12c gross revenue from July) that banks are unlikely to underwrite. In-app, that’s all free and so much smarter.

  17. Graham Siener

    This is an area where mobiles shine and laptops fall on their face. You’d think we’d have a similar solution for osx but they’re all a bit clunky. I’ve tried MarcoPolo but it’s a lot harder to work off ambient signals like available waps vs. geolocation.Embeddable GPS is getting very cheap — when will see a proliferation in all of our devices (mobile and otherwise)?

    1. @billg

      GPS radios may be getting cheaper, but embedding them into devices is another matter. Antenna design & battery consumption are two big issues, particularly for battery powered devices. Plus, how many GPS radios do you need to carry? It may be more practical to carry one and link to other devices through low-power wireless connections.

  18. andyswan

    My dog knows when I put on a certain pair of shoes, it’s time for a walk….when we cross the bridge in the car, he lays down for a long ride…when the kids get on their bikes, he gets his tennis ball. I didn’t have to “program” a thing.Seems like an app this cool should have a brain enough to learn “if MASTER does X in this location, he wants me to do Y”

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Who wants a dog when you can have a phone: here! sit! well done! good phone!Tech in amazing, but it’s still more stupid than most animals.

      1. Tyler Hayes

        It’s also increasing in power per dollar at an exponential rate. 40 years ago: “Tech is amazing, but it still can’t beat my calculator.” 10 years ago: “Tech is amazing, but it’s still can’t beat me at chess.” Two months ago: “Tech is amazing, but it still can’t win at Jeopardy.”Each time technology, specifically computers in this case, achieves our highest bar/notion/idea of “intelligence” we just raise raise the bar higher.Apps (or phones, or computers) that can look at your patterns and determine what settings to set based on those patterns? If they don’t already exist, I guarantee a hundred people are writing them around the world right now. Turing, here we come.

        1. ShanaC

          OK – tech is amazing, but it still can’t make my friends feel better (waiting for this one to really happen…)

          1. Tyler Hayes

            Consider my interest piqued. What were you thinking specifically?

          2. ShanaC

            I was talking with my friend about some life problem he had (welcome tobeing young-ish) earlier tonight. And while Eliza exists, it wouldn’t havehelped him solve the problem he was having (since he wasn’t exclusivelylooking for someone to just listen).It is really really hard to imitate the subtle parts of consciousness :feelings, creativity- the things that make us really human, and allow us torelate to others. A computer (right now) can’t be my friend’s friend forhim.I expect that computer to be a long time coming – computers are experts atknown tasks that can be automized- dealing with people isn’t something thatis easy to automize at all.

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            The Turing Test will be overcome sooner than you think. I’ve mentioned off and on a second design I’ve had resting. It is the one pointed toward therapy, education and acceleration to AGI.The vision for it came from doing the Turing in a more real world fashion.What we have in the box is a flexible thinking engine that learns, retains and makes decisions. That is the needed first step which then is followed by true interface/interaction between the human and engine.All the other screwballs think you can program it to pass the Turing…Per your other reply to Tyler re your friend… my dear you have no idea what is inside the box 😉

        2. Dave W Baldwin

          Read my response to ShanaC’s response to yours.

      2. ShanaC

        That’s because if you do something outside of its logic…

    2. Moda

      i’m said: hello your dog :))

    3. fredwilson

      Yup. Learn from my behavior

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        There is more to it than that. First you have to define ‘learn’ and make it real vs. claiming something is learning and implying more than what it is.

    4. Dave W Baldwin

      You are right speaking broadly. The issue is really Intelligence (artificial). That is the ability to compare situations (re User), judging if the similarity to current compared to former. More important, doing this with more than one thing going on.It comes down to the ability to Intake, Digest, Make Decision and Perform.In the case of Locale, we can say it is more than narrow AI and is the beginning of all things AI with human like cognition. Truly though, it follows programming that is either/or in carrying out function (on/off @ location, ask User if at another category location).If you look at my bio, it mentions Virtual Assistant. Trust me, there is a better way than needing hundreds of programmers that write for each thought of possibility, moving into the clusters that happen when you’re in real time…. as all the current chatbot junk with clogged neural nets.

  19. Ivan Vecchiato

    I was looking for something like Locale and I think it’s a great application.Just one remark: it’s not “pretty looking”. Let me explain: I’m not the kind of user who likes applications for what they look like rather what they let you do and how they work. Rather the opposite. I’m a developer, so I use to be much more pragmatic. But I recently began to wonder why usually Android apps have still an homemade flavour, similar to the “Hello World” example look & feel. This is going to change, for sure, but for the moment the reasons seems to me to be what Android users are asking for and what they still don’t know they could ask. This makes the developers lazy, when it comes to UX and UI design.I’m not starting one of those boring flames on Android vs iOS, I don’t care about those religion wars.This blog post http://android-gripes.tumbl…discusses it (from a biased point of view, I do not agree with everything but some points are worth to consider).It is not possibile to implement Locale for iPhone, so in this case Android wins, but in the iOS world they would be much more demanding.With demanding users, Locale could be even better.

    1. fredwilson

      Why isn’t it possible to implement locale on ios?

      1. Ivan Vecchiato

        Dave Hopton answered about that.Anyway I’m rethinking about what I said, I’m not sure this is totally against the Apple policies, have to check.

  20. amanda peyton

    For some reason 77 Mass Ave. stays with you long after you leave. We named our corporation 77Mass, Inc. for that reason.

    1. fredwilson

      I still have nightmares. MIT pushed me harder and farther than anything elseI have encountered other than marriage and parenting

  21. Mark Essel

    I keep my phone on vibrate, have it in my pocket, it automatically joins known wifi networks, and I don’t have a wireless plan. I use it actively three hours a day while walking and I never have a problem with the battery. Cool to see advanced location programming of a mobile phone, but I’ve got good enough defaults. I’d prefer a backup wireless data only plan that would kick on when out of wifi though.Voice quality still suffers over talkatone, but it’s quite good through google talk on the desktop.

    1. ShanaC

      your phone usage is the future – pure data….and data costs, i hope, will come down

  22. Derek Tumolo

    Another similar type of app for understanding situations and controlling technology accordingly is IFTTT.com (still in private beta). It stands for If this, then that, and allows you to wire up various internet stuff in a dead simple way. Sort of like yahoo pipes, but they did the UX right. Check it out.

    1. fredwilson


  23. Jan Schultink

    Social network services should also adjust based on location or time of the day (profile, “friends” you interact with).Makes the service more useful.Opens up ways to use social networking at work without being a distraction

    1. fredwilson


  24. mattb2518

    Interesting that these apps don’t seem to be available for iPhone.I’d assume at this point that anyone developing an app for Android would do one for Apple, and vice versa.

    1. slowernet

      I may be wrong, but I don’t believe Apple allows apps to manipulate phone settings. Which is irritating. I’ve wanted a one-touch brightness toggling app forever, for example.

    2. fredwilson

      Another commenter said you can’t do this stuff on ios. If true its yetanother reason to be on android. As if I needed another

      1. Dave Hopton

        As Eliot says below, Apple doesn’t allow 3rd party apps to control certain phone settings, many of which are those Locale deals with.I can understand why they’re operating this way but it comes at the detriment of apps like this on iOS. Hopefully one day soon.

        1. Aaron M

          Not having general-purpose background tasks is the other major reason.

  25. jengroff

    What an excellent use of mobile geolocation.

  26. Crisson

    This app takes a step towards my ideal mobile future, where the phone automatically interprets my surroundings via its sensor data and adjusts settings accordingly. I feel like the term smartphone is currently a misnomer that hints more at the terrible state of the prior period of mobile computing (it’s smart compared to the past, but not really as smart as we’d like) rather than the intelligence we ultimately want from the device. I’m really looking forward to Apple’s use of Siri and how Google brings more of its AI prowess to Android in the (hopefully near) future.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Well put and good luck! I originally started my Executive Statement with, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the Smartphone were….Smart?”Shoulda kept it.

  27. David Shellabarger

    Locale was one of the top winners of the first Android Developer Challenge way back in 2008. http://code.google.com/andr…Google did a very poor job at publicizing the winners.Locale is a great app. I know a lot of people really love Tasker too, but it has a learning curve that is higher than it should be.

  28. Daniel Jackson

    Locale sounds like an awesome application. I currently have a Palm OS phone, but I think my next phone will run Android – definitely adding this to my “must have” list of apps.

  29. Donna Brewington White

    If you ever tire of VC’ing, you could start one of those websites that finds and reports the best technology solutions for particular needs.Of course being a VC is what gives you such ready access to this information and causes people to respond so quickly — although by now you could probably generate this by reputation and because people like you.We all get to benefit. The amount of new technology that I have discovered just hanging out at AVC is astounding.Thank you!

    1. fredwilson

      Its part of my job

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Don’t you love that?

        1. fredwilson

          Yes I do love that

  30. sachxn

    same here using locale for the past couple of months….tried Y5..but am a fan of Locale..

  31. Janusz Jezowicz

    If the purpose of this is to save battery when using wi-fi only on locations where it can be used , then why rely on GPS , which drains battery even quicker.I have Nexus S and would love to use it but I feel I won’t get any battery saving when it means I need to have GPS turned on all the time.

    1. Gorilla44

      GPS doesn’t use that much battery juice. Wifi uses a lot more.

  32. MH

    I haven’t checked it out, but Llama was mentioned on HN as a free alternative:https://market.android.com/…*apparently it used cell triangulation, not GPS.

  33. Jonathan Balkin

    I understand this App has more features than simply connecting to WiFi when at a certain location, however does this actually use significantly more battery power than leaving WiFi on by always having to track your location??

    1. ttasterisco

      AFAIK, the Locale team constantly tries to optimize battery consumption. I believe the algorithm they’ve implemented is far better than Android’s ProximityAlert.Also, Fred Wilson, shame on you for not knowing about Locale before. They won the Android Developer Challenge…

    2. Nate

      I have the same question as Jonathan: did this fix your battery draining problem?

  34. abolish

    From the docs: “Locale will periodically perform brief Wi-Fi scans (even if Wi-Fi is turned off) to determine your location accurately.”So your plan is to periodically switch on the wifi to determine whether you should switch on the wifi.Sounds great. Also, isn’t it nice that Android lets apps override system settings.

  35. anne weiler

    Sounds like very useful functionality, but is this really an app or should it be part of the phone O/S? Smart phones are really not smart enough for the general population yet.

    1. fredwilson

      I do think things like this should make their way into the OS

      1. Alex Murphy

        Maybe yes, maybe no … I had asked if this was a bridge tech … but this solution seems like a start of so much more. The app can evolve to do amazing things with near field communication. How about turning off the lights and up the thermostat when you leave the house. How about knowing how far away you are from home and doing the reverse. That could be done on a low cost subscription and becomes so much more.Great find, thanks for the research.

        1. fredwilson

          I agree with this too

  36. im2b_dl

    Fred Thx I think locale could play a big part in our storycubes.

  37. Jpmandy

    That’s an awesome app. I just had a quick look and I couldn’t find anything like that for my iphone. Does anyone know if there is something available?

    1. felixc

      I think the issue is that an iPhone-version of Locale would have to run as a background app and be able to modify phone settings. And I think that is prohibited by Apple.I could be off-base since I haven’t kept up with the latest version of the iOS SDK.

  38. Ronald

    All cognitive problem solving animals have at least a visual self, Dolphins, Magpies, Elephants, Apes, some Monkeys ….Parts of what we measure as IQ is actually motivation[1].Self is learned in Humans very early right after we can learn from negative feedback, before concepts like “all”. From that we can build programs which can learn “self” and use it as a base organization of concepts like “all,except”.Please don’t call an idiotic rule following machine with no self awareness intelligent.1. http://news.sciencemag.org/

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      The problem with your statement is its pushing of limitations. You are wrong if you think there is no such thing as the Artificial not visualizing itself in what it observes/learns.The ‘save your battery/choosing WIFI’ app? Of course it is narrow in the realm of AI just as most anything mentioned in this blog. BUT, it is good having contributers talking in terms of AI.

      1. Ronald

        What I tried to say is we are testing visual self awareness, nobody knows if my Dog is self aware because of smell. Our tests always involve mirrors(see example animals), as far as I know. Artificial self awareness might be learned, it’s not set of dumb rules.Now to put you just a little over the edge. I use timing as the abstraction for modeling. Because:Drug densityMyelin sheatBack Propagating Active CalciumBI directional axons….To name a few. Now the first thing one discovers when doing so, there is no “false”. It must be learned, so over to Neurology/Psychology. …. we have the following problem, when do we start learning from negative feedback? Because our model requires some maturity to actually do so …. Inhibition is not a logical false …The nice thing is, it requires multi dimensional modeling. Which makes it easier to learn(self organizing data) “all” then counting for example (which is a pain in the back to teach a machine). My interests is not in huge statistical data modeling, my interest is in “small” self organizing systems. Right now I’m looking into Android to see how far we can push it, first step see what others have done.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          On the mark. Don’t worry, I take the abilities of the human brain seriously in relation to AGI. BTW, I’m with Ben Goertzel…On the negative feedback, it probably comes to pain (dog goes up to tree, sees cat and sniffs, gets scratched…next time dog sees cat, it hesitates) and/or surprize, for if the child either feels pain or hears alarm in the voice of adult, it knows something is out of whack. Baby cries due to change in enviornment related to all things good.The self organizing is possible… I have discovered most don’t want to hear about how that works as they keep trying to prove all things superior with something very narrow.In the case of data, it is best to focus on the User’s data and organize it per long term and add on ability to retrieve needed data from elsewhere. One step or two horizontal from that delivers more than one would expect.

          1. Ronald

            Be careful with the pain explanation. One can shake a baby to its death, it will not stop. We can show in math models why that is so, it’s based on the basic learning principles. Sorry always an bad example, makes people think we are nuts.

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            As I’ve had to explain to BG, math is the ultimate, yet don’t get yourself too confined.To produce the higher cognitive engine will take true interface between human and machine. We have the vehicles ready to implement.On the artificial side, you don’t have to start as a baby since that assumes there being no way to achieve AGI unless we first completely map/analyze the human brain. The assumption of having to map bio is one of the main reasons for the snail’s pace in AGI.IMO, the positive affirmation will be of more use re AI where the machine will understand if someone yells STOP!, stopping will help keep one of the bio’s alive…which is positive.Otherwise, the dog getting the cat scratch works in VW, where Virtual means Virtual… 😉

  39. falicon

    I don’t personally have a need for this app…but I *love* the thinking behind it…situational is where it’s at…and I think it’s currently the most promising path to machine learning that actually does something for the masses soon (disclosure: ‘situational machine learning’ is also a big part of the behind-the-scenes work I’m doing on my own thing)

  40. BuyGiftsItems

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  41. Andrew Skotzko

    This is incredibly cool and is the first thing that makes me consider dropping my iPhone (I’m a sucker for great UX).The possibilities of this (variable state based on geolocation) are huge.

  42. Dave W Baldwin

    Responses to this post show the power of Social Media. The fact is people want to have things taken care of by their mobile device.Some of the responses move into the discipline of AI/AGI. I want to clarify my repsonses have to do with my team and/or getting down to real definitions.It’s great someone put the time in to develop an app taking care of the wifi issues and that should be bought by Google.Just be careful trying to turn that over into animal like intelligence that involves a true input/filter/analyser/conclusion/action scenario.I am happy seeing excitement involving this discipline 😉

  43. Nick Molnar

    Totally agree, Fred. I’ve been using Locale for the last year and am blown away with the flexibility of it. I also like that they have an active community building extension-apps for it that add new conditions and settings to configure.Locale is the perfect example of an app that can succeed on Android and would simply not be possible on iOS. Locale would break the iTunes guidelines in a half-dozen places, and that’s why its so good.