Every app fiend knows that notifications can be really annoying. They can disrupt a precious train of thought, cut into an intimate moment, or just annoy you with unnecessary spam.
What you would never have expected is for someone to make an app for the sole purpose of sending you notifications. That’s what Ping is.
But to understand Ping, you have to step back and imagine a world where notifications are of value. Where they’re not calls for action, but designed to bring a smile to your face or even teach you something new. After all, they’re are a part of your daily life, and by changing the way notifications interact with your life, you are effectively enriching your life, one ‘ping!’ at a time.
When you first download the Ping app, you might be pretty confused. There isn’t anything much in there except a blank space and a dot, and at first glance you would think it’s some kind of hipster indie game. But then it grows, and you get a list of topics ranging from “Movies worth watching” (or for the cynical, “Movies worth mocking”), to “Today in History”, to “Random Thoughts”. One tap on the topic collates the daily updates on that topic in the app, while two taps send you notifications on the topic occasionally.
The app itself is plain in design because you are not expected to actually use the app at all. It’s a one-way relationship where you benefit completely.
The value of Ping is difficult to describe. It is like a good friend who’s full of interesting secrets and trivia, yet one you never have to reply to. You never know when they’re going to ‘text’ you, so you could be in the middle of a crap day at work when it lets you know that there is an awesome game called Alpaca Evolution that you can download on your way home, or that the Turkey (the bird) was named after Turkey (the country).
The first thing you see in the morning might be that #llamadrama that is now trending on Twitter, and in the middle of a fight with your other half, it might cleverly inform you that when calculated pound by pound, a hamburger is worth more than a new car.
One morning, I woke up to the fact that a day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus, and felt legitimately mindfucked for the rest of the day — in a good way.
Why you would want to know these things requires no explanation.
Coming from the creators of the Secret app, Ping has taken on a life of its own, integrating into the lives of people who use it. As Ben Lee, Secret designer said: “Today, we released Ping. A simple product that lives on your lock screen. There are no signups and no usernames — just content. Ping was born out of a weekend hackathon where the goal was an exercise in simplicity. We were fascinated by the idea of an app that could tell you what you need to know, right when you need to know it.”
“Why scavenge for content — it should come to you.”
It undeniably adds an extra bit of colour to your otherwise dull day, and if you ignore the fact that this app is probably more interesting than your own friends, Ping could be the best companion your smartphone could ask for.
As Ping’s description in the App Store says: “You’re going to like me.”
I do, Ping, I do.