Software developer Anand Sharma ate sushi and went on a 2.6-mile run in the middle of the day on Saturday. He was quietly coding at his home near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California yesterday afternoon.
No, we’re not Facebook friends. He volunteered this information on a web app called AprilZero that he built to help him track everything about himself last year. Now he wants to help you track everything about yourself so you can share it with the world, too, using a broader version called Gyroscope.
Gyroscope is basically AprilZero for the masses. It creates a personal profile for you based on various smartphone apps that track data such as weight, health, steps you’ve taken and locations you’ve been to. Foursquare helps to figure out where you’ve traveled, Instagram and Twitter track your activities, various fitness apps such as RunKeeper, Fitbit and Moves track runs, and Withings tracks your weight and heart rate, for example.
That combined data can be used to tell a story about yourself on any given day, according to Sharma. “I think this is one of the biggest differences between what I’m doing and other quantified self stuff or dashboards that people have made. I am hoping it will turn out to be the future of the quantified self movement, and in a few years it will be the way everyone measures and understands the things they care about — fitness, productivity, travel, medical history, anything important in life,” he said.
It might be hard to convince people to sign up for yet another tracking service, especially in light of recent privacy concerns. But according to Sharma, hundreds of people had been asking for a similar site that would track everything about themselves and allow them to share that data since AprilZero went live. There are currently over 4,000 active Gyroscope users and nearly 6,000 on the wait list for the new site, which is currently in private beta.
Sharma understands that there may be some privacy concerns. You can set your profile on the site to public or private. But he adds that the sharing component is part of what gives the site value. “Imagine some of your friends were easily able to see what you did yesterday or whether you’ve been in a good mood lately. I want to make tools to be able to easily share with trusted friends while still maintaining privacy, especially for the more medical and sensitive stuff,” he said.
At first I wasn’t sure I’d want the whole world to see where I am or how far I ran yesterday, but I’m actually already sharing that information. I regularly check-in to places on Foursquare and sometimes even add it to Twitter or Facebook. I’d personally be okay with giving up some information to learn more about myself, though it’s understandable many others would not want to do that.
Knowing that my activity is being tracked and published to the world has been a really great motivator to do interesting things or try harder. Anand Sharma
Tracking everything through AprilZero helped motivate Sharma to be more productive. “Knowing that my activity is being tracked and published to the world has been a really great motivator to do interesting things or try harder,” he said.
There’s a ‘little bit’ of angel funding from True Ventures, Hiten Shah, Jyri Engeström, Fresh VC, Siqi Chen and Semil Shah to help build out the engineering team.
Sharma hinted that he would be adding more apps in the coming months. Apple HealthKit support is coming soon. He’s also considered adding Goodreads, Nike+ and music tracking, too.