Although the app first struck us as a skinnier Retaggr with an animated GIF-esque Flash avatar slapped on the top, something quirky and cute drew us back and elicited deeper digging. We read on the Particle blog that their goal was "to design something a user can easily navigate, without really thinking too hard about it." We turned back to the adorable Robo.to app; had we simply been thinking too hard?
After a few initial minutes of tinkering around the site, we were able to generate this:
The resulting badge appears in a narrow, mobile-friendly form and links to a page with any pointers we choose to direct visitors to our other online homes. Robo.to let us record a few soundless seconds of video and was then kind enough to help us share that information with a limited amount of text in a few other places on the social web, such as Facebook and Twitter. The app also allows for mobile uploads via email.
It's an amuse-bouche for the Internet stalker's palate, and it's delightful.
The only two questions that remained after Robo.to won our heart are as follows, and they're the same questions we'd ask any free-to-a-good-home puppy:
1. How will it generate revenue?
2. How we will remember to feed it?
The social web is, metaphorically speaking, an ocean of apps. Some are better designed, some are more functional, some are better integrated with our existing online lives. Within the sea, there are continents (Google's suite of apps, Facebook, YouTube), and there are islands. Each of us has our own particular haunts in that regard, sites that warrant a weekly or daily check-in or post. I've adopted Yahoo! Meme as one of mine to keep an eye on, and I get around to Last.fm just about as often.
Then there are the apps that, while nifty, don't have the power to become a continent or an island because they can't consistently draw users back. They become digital jetsam, and adoption declines after initial rounds of publicity are over.
We're not damning Robo.to to this particular fate, but we want to know: Why will we return to Robo.to and continue to upload content? What will remind us? Is returning even necessary? Has the Particle team succeeded in creating an app so tiny it's virtually invisible?
And without consistent user traffic prompted by that sticky, infectious property the best new apps have (hel-lo, Twitter!), how will Particle have the leverage to generate revenue?
Also, our Internet friends were way confused on why there's no sound in the video clips.
What do you make of Robo.to so far? Are you more confused or delighted? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to link to your newly created profile on the site so we can watch your clips.