Our dinner bill app Plates featured in the App Store!
Late last night, the team was delighted to discover that our dinner bill app Plates has been listed as the #1 Best New App in the Utilities section of the Apple App Store.
We released version 1 of Plates in July 2013 to great critical and popular success; both BusinessInsider and MSN Money covered the tool, and user reviews in the App Store have been overwhelmingly positive (average rating 4.5).
This latest recognition from Apple feels amazing, and confirms our belief that we’ve made a world class app to help friends avoid awkward conversations about money after enjoying a meal together (yuck). We’re tremendously proud of our intern Liz Neu, who built Plates with limited assistance from Caleb and Ryan and has been steadily shipping updates to the app while finishing up her final year of undergrad. Most recently, Liz optimized Plates for iPad (it’s currently listed as the #2 Best New Utility App for iPad as well).
We’re incredibly grateful to all the Splitwise users who have given Plates a whirl. We look forward to providing you with ever more, ever better solutions to all of life’s splitting problems.
Take a peek: the population, land area, and population density of every zip-code / ZCTA in the USA.
- 2010 US Population Density, By Zip Code, in XLS and CSV
- 2007-2011 US Unemployment Rate By Zip Code, also in XLS or CSV
Unemployment and population density are probably two of the most important local statistics you might hear quoted about a city or town. Our US Population by Zip Code post from September has gotten rather popular, and a polite commenter requested population density and unemployment rate. So here they are, totally free and in the public domain, in two different formats (see above).
How did I get this data? Two different Census APIs (the Decennial Census 2010 and the ACS 5-year 2007-2011), combined with the square-footage by ZCTA listings from the 2013 U.S. Gazetteer Files.
I was planning to use this post to document my methods and send everyone on their own journey through the data, but it got too long and I realized that I wanted to talk a more systematic approach. In a follow up post, I will explain how to pull Census data yourself for different variables at different geographical resolution. But if you need a jump start now, my first and most helpful guide was the National Civic Day Of Hacking support slides.
Splitwise wants to totally take the stress out of sharing expenses and creating IOUs with friends. A huge part of that is facilitating communication around who owes who, and for what. We’re always looking for new ways to help you and your friends get (and stay!) on the same page.
That’s why we’re so excited to announce the release of expense comments for the web. This new feature will let group members and friends have conversations within the web app around individual expenses. We plan to bring expense comments to our iPhone and Android apps in the New Year, so you can sort stuff out on-the-go, too.
An expense with comments added to it.
To add a comment to an expense, click on the expense name in any expense list. In the expanded view you’ll now see a ‘Notes and Comments’ box with a ‘Post’ button beneath. Simply add your questions and thoughts to the box, hit ‘Post’, and await your buddy’s response! We’ve added an email notification setting for this feature; you can choose to get an email every time someone adds a comment to an expense you’re on, or you can opt-out. The default setting has you opted-out. Head to your account settings page (‘Your Account’) to toggle.
We’ve been wanting to build out a commenting feature for quite some time, and our support requests indicated lots of users wanted it, too. We hope to make it even more rich moving forward, while preserving the simplicity Splitwise is known for. We’d love to eventually introduce a full-blown messaging feature, so you can send messages in Splitwise not attached to any expense.
As always, we’re thrilled to be steadily improving Splitwise, and so grateful that you’re here for the journey. Happy holidays!
If you want to switch from Buxfer to Splitwise, we’ve released an importer using their API.
In August 2012 we built an importer for Billmonk data as that service started to have problems. It helped a lot of their users seamlessly switch their expense histories and balances over to Splitwise, sparing them hours of re-entry and even worse, the horror of losing it all. We loved helping die-hard sharers find a new home, and it was a blast getting to know the Billmonk-turned-Splitwise community through the whopping 79 comments they left on our importer blog post.
We’re happy to now release an importer for Buxfer data, which we’ve developed in response to some observations about the service: The founding team appears to have moved on to Facebook, and there have been rather lengthy outages over the last year or so, with very spotty support throughout. It doesn’t seem that the site is going to close down anytime soon, but we wanted to give Buxfer users an easy way to turn over a new leaf if they felt so inclined.
If you’re a current Buxfer user and would like to get started with Splitwise, go import your Buxfer data! Or, keeping reading about the tool and co-founder Marshall’s development process below. Continue reading
The new home screen! The top row lets you filter by either debts, credits, or all friends.
The whole Splitwise team is proud and thrilled to announce the release of the most wonderful Android app we’ve ever designed – Splitwise Android v3. It’s a whole new look and the result of many months of toil by Marshall, with help in the last couple months from Ryan and Caleb. Testing was carried out by the whole team as well as volunteer testers from our user base, to whom we are very grateful.
To my thumbs and eyes, our Android app has gone from a source of embarrassment to one of the most polished productivity apps in the Play Store. Some highlights from the new build:
- Unified logo and color scheme and a look that embodies the Android style
- Pay friends via PayPal (for US users only)
- Simplified and streamlined “Add Bill” dialog
- Push notifications for new expenses and edits
- Sidebar menu to easily find balances with groups or people
- New friend view, including both group balances and private IOUs
Late last week, Ryan made a much-needed improvement to Splitwise’s delete friend functionality. Now, you can delete any friend as long as they’re not in a group with you.
Previously, Splitwise blocked you from deleting friends if you had ever added an expense outside of a group with them AND another friend. This was happening because deleting friends deleted all expense records between you two, and Splitwise wanted to block multi-party records from being deleted in case one of the parties on the expense wasn’t all settled up yet. Ryan built a work-around that will enable you to delete the friends you want, without obliterating a piece of someone else’s balance puzzle.
The Google patent authors hypothetically using Splitwise
Last week, we learned from GeekWire that Google has applied for a patent on our bread and butter technology: tracking groups of bills split with friends. The patent application describes a system of shared balances and payments between friends in a group – exactly what Splitwise and some of our competitors have been doing publicly for years. Google currently has no group-splitting product, and one can only assume they are considering adding a splitting service to Google Wallet. (Google, if you want to integrate Splitwise with Wallet, reach out to us).
The equally ironic prior art search
Obviously, it’s “not a joke” to have a tech giant submit a patent application for exactly what your business has been doing for years. But we couldn’t help but laugh when, within the same week, a lobbyist paid by Google approached us to ask if we would publicly support a patent reform bill. We are literally being lobbied for patent reform and patent-trolled by Google at the same time. Continue reading
Posted in Dev Blog, Fairness Calcualators, News Articles, Opinion
Tagged bill-splitting, check splitting, eff, geekwire, google, google patent, google patents bill splitting, ohwhattheeff, patent reform, patents