Week 2, new features: mobile search and checkin, connect to tripit, huge improvements to foursquare and twitter import, replies to comments etc.

We’ve been pretty busy this week. About an hour ago, we released an update to the site that includes the following:

Tripline Mobile

  • Geolocation – Tripline Mobile is now configured to use location information from your phone if it’s available.
  • Check in – You can now check in to the places in your trips, update your story and add new places.
  • Local Search – Use local search to find places and add them to your trips.  Once you find a place, you can check in if you’re there, or just add a place to your plan and check in when you get there.
  • Create new trips – No need to plan ahead, create a trip right from your phone and check in to add new places.
  • More info here

Connect to Tripit

You can now connect your Tripline account to Tripit and import your trips. It’s a great way to tell your stories.  Note that some of your older trips may not have geo data, and some items don’t have dates.

Improved import from Foursquare

When we first launched, Foursquare importing was limited to your most recent 15 checkins.  Well, now you can import everything.  Just click [Create a trip from my checkins] on the create page and pick the checkins you want to import.  There’s a [+] load more link at the bottom of the page so you can find all of your past checkins.

Improved import from Twitter

You can now load all of your tweets (geo and non-geo) and add locations if you need to.  Just like importing from Foursquare, There’s a [+] load more link at the bottom of the page.

Comments & Responses

We added replies to comments and we also put comments on user pages.

Bug Fixes

We fixed a number of bugs related to broken trips and other inconsistencies around the site.

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What’s Next?

Among other things, we’re going to do some work on photos.  Stay tuned.

Week 1, off to a great start

Well, week 1 is behind us and it’s been quite a ride. Aside from a few small hiccups (which I’ll get to in a bit), everything has gone pretty well. What’s been most amazing to me is the traffic from around the globe. While a majority of our traffic has been from the US, we’ve seen a ton of people coming in from Japan, Europe, Canada, India, South America and Australia. We have the beginnings of a global community, and I hope to see that continue.

A few stats from week 1:

  • 11,575 unique visitors
  • 1,584 registered users
  • 2,268 trips created
  • 24,649 waypoints created
  • 12,227 photos added
  • Average time spent on the site: 4.27 minutes
  • 81% of people using Firefox, Chrome or Safari
  • Almost as many iPad users as iPhone (wow)

After spending the first few days monitoring the site and fixing some of the bugs that came up, we’ve jumped right back into the code to make some important updates we weren’t able to get to before launch. We’re also working on a few new things that we hope you like. It’s been great to see the feedback so far, and we’re going to do our best to get you the features you want as soon as we can.

The notable bugs we discovered during the first week were two separate issues that were causing trips to break.  The first one was caused by deleting just-uploaded photos before refreshing the page.  The second one was caused by ampersand symbols ( & ) at a certain position in address fields.  We’ve fixed both of these (and did our best to rebuild any trips that were affected – that’s our penance). We also discovered an issue for Android users on our mobile site.  There’s a detailed explanation here. I hope you understand that these types of things are part of the Beta process and forgive us if there are problems here and there.

In terms of missing functionality or things that don’t work as well as you’d like, the two main areas where people seem to be frustrated are import from Foursquare and import from Twitter.  We’re working on both of those to make the experience a lot better.

Since we’re only three people, we won’t be able to blog or tweet or email as much as we’d like while we’re in development mode, so we hope you understand if we go quiet from time to time.  If you need to reach us, shoot an email to support@tripline.net and we’ll respond as soon as we can.  That’s usually pretty quick, unless of course it’s the middle of the night.

Thanks for making this a great first week,

– Byron

Day 3, the irony of this sort of work

I love traveling. I love all parts of it. From the initial spark of an idea, to the research, discovery, planning, looking for deals, mapping out the route, gear shopping, packing, repacking, setting my out-of-office responder, heading to the airport with Vivien beside me in a cab, and finally the turn onto the runway, flaps out 15 degrees, the engines throttling up, rolling down the runway and wheels up – we’re off to somewhere new and nothing can stop us now! I think we all wish we could do it more often.

But for the past 6 months, and probably for a little while longer still, I haven’t had the chance to travel like I used to since I’ve been working on Tripline. Vivien and I have been on some great weekend trips, I’ve been back-and-forth to San Francisco with Rick a lot, and I was recently back in Boston for a high-school reunion, but nothing like the trips I used to take before.

So, here at Tripline, we’ve been living vicariously through all of you. One wandering couple that I’d like to mention is my friends Sejal and Darsh. They set out from Santa Monica in late April on a 6-month, 31,000 mile trip around the world. I had really hoped to have Tripline ready for their trip, but sometimes things take longer than you hope. Anyway, here’s their trip. It’s quite an adventure and still underway.

Makes me think we need some real-time updates.

-Byron

Happy 40th Anniversary Mom & Dad!

The story of how my parents met is one of those tales that happen so rarely. The year was 1969, my Mom was on an epic voyage around the world, traveling sometimes by air and mostly by freighter…which was a cheaper way to travel back then. On a stop in Lesotho, she was introduced to my Dad who was a South African cricketer. As the story goes, it was love at first sight…my Dad walking into a restaurant and stopping in his tracks when he saw my Mom’s over-the-shoulder glance and smile. They spent about 10 days together, traveling from Lesotho to Durban, to Cape Town and back again, and then my Mom was off on the rest of her journey.

The way it worked back then was that if you wanted to reach someone traveling by boat, you would send a letter to the next port-of-call and passengers would pick up mail when the ship came in to port. They exchanged a few letters this way, and in one letter, my Dad suggested that they travel around Europe together. Of course my Mom responded that she wouldn’t travel with someone unless she were married, so in the next letter, my Dad proposed. It was a bit funny because my Mom never got that letter, and her next letter to my Dad made no mention of his proposal. But eventually they figured it out and my Mom accepted. The rest is history. My Dad emigrated from South Africa to the US, they were married in my Mom’s native Connecticut and then they headed  to Arizona where my Mom was living at the time. That was 40 years ago today.  Here’s the story on Tripline:

It’s missing some detail since my parents just moved (from my hometown outside of Boston back to Connecticut) and they don’t have internet access in the new house yet, but my Mom said she’d add more details from her archived letters and diary soon. I love this story.

Congratulations Mom & Dad, and thanks for everything.

-Byron

Day 1, off and running

Well, it’s been an amazing day.  We’ve been watching the new trips come in for the past few hours and we’re loving it.  It seems that everyone has lots of stories to tell, so we hope we’ve made it easier (and more fun) to put these things together.

When you’re building something, it’s always hard to tell if anyone is really going to enjoy (or even understand) what you’re making, so it’s incredibly uplifting to see that people do.  We’ve already seen a wide range of trips created so I thought I’d post a few of them here.

Here’s Kathy Park’s latest.  She’s obviously a huge Steelers Fan.  Dare I tell her that I’m a life-long Pats fan?

And here’s Jody Fellows from Virginia.  She’s organized a Falls Church Pizza Crawl.  That sounds pretty good right now.

These are two examples of how you can use Tripline every day.  I think it’s really neat to see these – it’s the reason we built Tripline to be flexible.  While the genesis of the idea came from travel, and that’s where we’re focused, we also understand that people don’t go on big trips all the time.  But everyday life does involve moving across the map, and so do many of the things we’re interested in…sporting events, bands, authors, stories, etc.  We felt that Tripline as a content creation application shouldn’t be restricted to a certain subject matter, so we were always conscious of supporting these sort of things.  One example is dates.  Since we got such a kick out of creating historical trips, we built in support for dates in the distant past.   It meant a bit of extra effort for us , but I think it’s worth it.  Anyway, it was too much fun to not do it.  Same goes for famous/fictional characters.  A bit of extra effort, but how could you release something that supports historical trips like Paul Revere’s Ride and not give someone the ability to add Paul Revere?

Why is all of this important?  Well, it goes back to the question of what travel is.  In the parlance of our time,  travel = vacation.  But really, travel is moving across the map.  And whether you do it for fun, for work, for adventure, to see family or just dream about going somewhere some day, we hope Tripline is what you use to put your plans and your stories together.   We’re going to keep making it better.

It’s been a long day, so I’m going to get some sleep.  We’ll be back in the morning checking out your trips.

Welcome to Tripline!

– Byron