Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

App-y New Year!

Despite the fact that I live and work near Times Square, and that around a million people gather annually in the heart of New York City to ring in the New Year, I’ve never been inspired to stand outside till midnight to watch the ball drop in person.

Now — whether you can’t make it to Times Square or just don’t want to — there’s an app for that.


First introduced last year, the Times Square Official New Year’s Eve Ball App — 2012 shows a live stream of the Times Square Ball atop One Times Square, as well as video content leading up to and during the event. I’m told there will also be a live stream of Lady Gaga flicking the switch with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, to get the ball rolling, literally, at 11:59 pm ET.

With the app, users can share photos of themselves via Facebook and Twitter. They can also vote on photos — the photos with the most “likes” will be showcased on the giant Toshiba sign in Times Square that night (so if you’re at home partying in your pajamas and snapping self-portraits, you might want to think twice before sending your photos through the app).

The free app runs on iOS and Android devices, and was created by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, along with Toshiba and Livestream. And because few things are ever truly free, ads will run at the bottom of the app interface.

Last year’s inaugural Times Square New Year’s Eve app was downloaded 174,000 times by users in 163 countries, during a two-week period. An estimated one billion people worldwide watch the ball drop on television each year.

And 30,000 New Year’s Eve kiss photos were sent through last year’s version of the app.

Unless you’re certain you’ll want to use it again a year from now, this one can go on the short-shelf-life list of phone apps. Meanwhile, there are a few other apps you might check out for New Year’s Eve, to ensure the evening goes off without a hitch.

Like Uber, the free iPhone and Android app for calling a car service when all of the taxi cabs are taken. Uber is currently only available in seven cities, including San Francisco, Boston, New York, Seattle and Paris, and the company also sometimes adjusts pricing for holidays, like it did on Halloween this year. Uber has not yet responded to an inquiry about whether prices will go up on New Year’s Eve.

You might also want to check out an app that tempers your holiday wild side, such as the Webroot Sobriety Test app. Or an app that tests your cognitive abilities before you drunk-text, like the $.99 Textalyzer.

Or, for all those good intentions, how about an app not just for making resolutions, but for keeping them, like All My New Year Resolutions?

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