Intelligent, Context-Aware Personal Assistant App “Friday” Makes Its Public Debut

How appropriate. That crazy Android personal assistant app called Friday is debuting today, on a Friday. Marketing genius! Friday comes from a startup called Dexetra, the same folks who previously launched the Siri-like Android app Iris. With Friday, the idea is to provide a history of your communications, like calls, text messages, emails and more, and combine those with other events your phone is able to record, like photos snapped and battery drops, then mush it all together with data from third-party services, like Facebook and Foursquare. The end result? A search engine for your life.

If the concept sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because other startups have previously attempted to play in this same space – at least to some extent. Companies like DispatchJolicloudGreplinKitedesk, etc. have attempted to aggregate user data from third-party services, then make it searchable and interoperable. Some have pivoted since, however. (See Jolicloud MeGreplin becomes Cue).

But to be clear, Friday isn’t just an aggregation play. Although it pulls in data from your phone and third-parties, it’s about actually acting on that data. Which is why, along with today’s public debut, Friday is introducing something it calls “applets.” CEO Narayan Babu tells me that these are independent, context-aware apps – they are separately installed but are able to use the information that Friday tracks. This is sci-fi  stuff here!

Some examples of what’s possible include:

  • An app that notifies user when the phone is running low on battery and there is a charger nearby.
  • And alternate dialer app, which, rather than showing the recent calls log, shows the list of users you are most probably going to call based on your context. (Babu says it automatically shows him his girlfriend’s number on top when he’s at home and it’s late at night, ha!)
  • An app that shows you a daily travelogue, and activity graph.

The first “applet” to become available is Trails, which is that third example above. It uses Friday’s APIs to create a travel diary of sorts. With Trails, you can select a day and view where you went and what happened at each point on the map. This includes everything from photos snapped to tweets to check-ins and more. Personal data junkies will love this sort of thing.

Dextera is opening up the Friday API now so other third-party developers can build on top of it. Babu says a least a half-dozen more applets are now in the works, and hints that the applets could work to deliver personalized recommendations for things like music, movies, or apps. Some of these may be free, other might be premium (paid) applets, he notes.

During its two-month private beta, Friday was tested by a couple of thousand users, and it already captured over 10 million documents, including over a million photos, a million songs played, thousands of locations, and more. Looking at any one piece of the data Friday collects, and you can see its potential for observing patterns. One example (below): users’ favorite songs. (See? We’re all burned out on “Call Me, Maybe” now). Babu says the company can also see other interesting patterns, like the most popular places in a city, for example.

Babu says Friday has been adding around 100,000 records per day. Now it’s time to see if Friday can scale. For a little help with that, the company is raising funding. Prior to now, the team had just a bit of seed funding from the One97Mobility fund (around $250,000). They’re now closing a round with an unnamed Valley VC.

I know what you’re all thinking: Screw this iPhone, I’m switching to Android. (Ha, I jest). But seriously, apps like this and Google’s own “Google Now,” are showing the potential in the platform, which, due to its more open nature, allows for deeper integrations of apps and services. But not to worry, iOS fans, Friday has Apple’s platform on its roadmap, at least, just not in the immediate future.

In the meantime, you can grab the Friday app for Android here on the company website. It should be in Google Play later on today. The app is now on Google Play here. The “Trails” applet is here.