Google trying to patent bill splitting while lobbying Splitwise for patent reform

Google bill splitting patent authors using Splitwise
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).

A thorough search for prior art
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 Google trying to patent bill splitting while lobbying Splitwise for patent reform

The 2010 US Census Population By Zip Code (Totally Free)

US Population By Zipcode / ZCTA
Population by ZIP code / ZCTA from US Census 2010. Why was this so freaking hard to find?

I’m going to kick off a multi-part series on US Census data by offering a totally free download, in XLS or CSV format, of something strangely hard-to-Google: the 2010 US Census population by Zip code (technically, by ZCTA). Splitwise is offering these files free of charge and in the public domain, and I can’t believe how many other sites are charging for them!

But the difficulty I had in creating this data set and using the US Census website has inspired me to write a bit more about how to use one of the world’s most interesting open data sources.

Continue reading The 2010 US Census Population By Zip Code (Totally Free)

The Splitwise API Is Here

Splitwise API clipart
“Building on Splitwise is fun,” says Clay Clipart, a fake developer at Google Image Search.

We’ve always hoped to give people the power to build new experiences on top of Splitwise, and we’re proud to announce today that we are releasing our first public API.

This will allow developers, Splitwise-lovers, and other companies to integrate with Splitwise. We’ve created an open-source API example, and published the instructions and documentation that we use internally. Check it out! Continue reading The Splitwise API Is Here

Presenting Splitwise v3: Fat Rabbit

fat rabbit watching fat rabbit 1
Nosey is excited he is a launch mascot!

It’s my great pleasure to announce version 3  of Splitwise for iPhone and web, which Marshall has memorably code-named “Fat Rabbit.” This is a major new relaunch, which changes our look and feel and adds popularly requested features like expense search, offline mode, bill editing, and push notifications. Perhaps most notably, we’ve entered the world of “mobile payments” with iPhone payments via PayPal.

We have decided to relaunch Splitwise today, in spite of yesterday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. We are deeply upset by the attack, and many dear friends of Splitwise were near the scene of the bombing or experienced a near miss. Our thoughts are out to anyone affected by the tragedy. In light of everything, we believe that the most ethical thing for Splitwise to do is to go ahead with business as usual.

If you care to, join us for a tour of the new app. Continue reading Presenting Splitwise v3: Fat Rabbit

Splitwise Pivots To A New Business Model

Coming soon to a t-shirt near you
Coming soon to a t-shirt near you

After two long years of trying to figure out how to make money, Splitwise has finally settled on a sustainable business model that will enhance the user experience of our website and keep ourselves profitable into the future.

Charging money for payments? Lame. Advertisements? Meh. Premium features? What premium features?

The only logical path, as I’m sure you will agree, is to become a web-comic. Continue reading Splitwise Pivots To A New Business Model

Centwise, Windows Phone 7.5, Splittr Updates

Awesome Centwise feature – in app calcualtor.

To Splitwise fans using Windows Phone 7.5 or 8, the last few weeks have been really exciting. Personally, I got so excited I purchased a Lumia 620 off of eBay just so I could keep up with these two new 3rd party releases. It won’t be my primary phone, but the Metro UI is very nice.

A few days ago, Centwise (created by Kamran Ayub) released its first version for both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8, making it the first third party app for long-time Windows Phone 7 fans! It’s a full featured app, with group support, simple IOUs, and lots of bells and whistles. Kamran is charging $1.29 to support his efforts, but it does have a free trial and a couple unique features I really like – including the sweet calculator-within-the-add bill flow pictured at right. Check out the full Centwise feature set here.

Miron adds groups to Splittr – with pics!

Miron has been keeping the awesome updates coming at free Splittr. The 1.1 release, which hit the app store yesterday, adds totally full-featured group support, so you can see all the expenses associated with a group, group balances, and repayment instructions. One neat idea is the ability to directly pin a group shortcut to the home screen. What a cool feature – I wish I had that on Android. I’m told a Windows Phone 7.5 version is submitted to the review queue as well. As of March 26th, Splittr now also supports Windows Phone 7.5, so all Windows Phone users should have two choices – a free and a paid app. Joy of joys!

Want Splitwise on Blackberry, Symbian, your toaster? Email developers@splitwise.com and we’d love to give you early API access. Personally, I can’t wait until we have an Arduino that creates Splitwise IOUs for the office coffee jar. 🙂

A Windows Phone 8 Client, At Long Last

splittr shot 1
Splittr lets you access Splitwise on Windows Phone 8.

We are so excited to announce that Miron Vranjes has developed the first Windows Phone 8 client for Splitwise, called Splittr. It’s free and awesome, so if you use Windows Phone 8, go grab it now!

For over a year, users have asked us “when are you going to support Windows Phone?” Miron stepped up and did it himself, using our open API. Splittr is a 3rd party app not developed by us, but it works with your existing Splitwise account and everything should more or less work with Splitwise as normal once you sign-in with Splitwise (just like a “Login With Facebook”). We like the UI he designed – it’s a very “Metro” look.

A few other notes:

  • Miron tells us a Windows Phone 7 version will also be out soon. For now, this is just for Windows Phone 8.
  • It has a tax/tip functionality that we don’t have yet – cool!
  • This is actually the 1.0.9 version. After a small update, the app now supports supports groups as well as friendships.
  • Users who have multiple groups will notice a missing feature – you will not be able to sort expenses/balances by that specific group, as you can in the website or native Splitwise apps. However, Splittr will tell you the group when you view a specific expense, and will let you select a group when you add one.

Continue reading A Windows Phone 8 Client, At Long Last

New “Divide A Bill” For The Web App

We’ve been dying to improve our “Divide A Bill” dialog box for months, and a preliminary version is finally ready! Take a look below, and please give us feedback or suggestions in the comments. We’ve been rolling it out slowly over the past few days, and all users will have it by early next week.

Now with auto-complete, and the ability to change the involved parties without clearing out data.
Now with auto-complete, and the ability to change the involved parties without clearing out data.

The form has been completely redesigned from scratch, with two killer new features.

  • You can add people into the “With’ field just like an email – without tons of clicking. SO much easier, and much more like the iPhone and Android apps.
  • Adding new people will automatically add them into the expense without clearing your existing data (a big complaint in the old version).

Continue reading New “Divide A Bill” For The Web App

Preview/Feedback: Splitwise 2.5 (iPhone)

photo 1Mere hours ago, Apple approved version 2.5 of Splitwise for iPhone. We weren’t expecting this to get through the review queue before the holidays, but lo and behold, we’re here!

As we described in the version 2.5 web preview Ryan and Jon just posted, we’ve been trying to make Splitwise continuously more simple and delightful as we release new versions. This is just the beginning, but we’d love to get your feedback, either here, at our dedicated feedback site http://feedback.splitwise.com, or email us via support@splitwise.com. Continue reading Preview/Feedback: Splitwise 2.5 (iPhone)