Android is coming, and the head on competition with the iPhone takes the shape of Developer Challenges. At the end of 2007, Google announced the Android Developer Challenge, which promised to provide $10 million in awards for those who develop of great apps for Google’s new phone. From the 1788 applications submitted worldwide Google chose the 50 finalists (see pdf) who were awarded $25K each and will now compete on the top 20 spots in the 2nd and final round of ADC. Israel’s Breadcrumbz is one of them.
Breadcrumbz was developed by Amos Yoffe, a third year computer science student in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The application offers a different kind of navigation, using pictures instead of a map. Breadcrumbz goal is to create a community where people create, store and share geo-content that is meaningful to them and their friends such as event directions, digital guided tours or navigation within a building/facility (ever tried finding a specific store in a giant mall?).
Even though this is a very simple navigation solution compared to your average Garmin GPS, Breadcrumbz’s ability to combine the phone’s GPS feature in combination with live images, could make picture-based navigation very approachable to cyclists and pedestrians.
The main disadvantage of the product is the complexity required to record a new route, as the user needs to record the trail on foot, while taking multiple images with his phone. Once recorded, sharing a route is easy and can be done in multiple ways: bluetooth, email or Gtalk. What else is special about BreadCrumbz? Unlike Google Maps for example, you can continue navigating even if your phone loses its GPS signal or internet connection. Voice instructions are available,
When asked by Ynet News about his chances of winning the competition, Amos said that statistically he has a 40% chance (Google will choose 20 award winners out of the 50 finalists). If he finishes in the top 10, the prize is $275,000. But given the interest the product is raising, the prize could just be an appetizer. It is likely that Amos will get acquired by the major navigation companies, which are already inquiring about the technology.
Check out BreadCrumbz demo: