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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Send messages via auto tags with Tag Texter for Android

17

February

Have you ever been sitting at a light and noticed the driver next to you has a tire that's low, a briefcase sitting on top of the car or a dress caught in the door? 2.pngYou can make the universal "roll the window down" motion to them and take the chance they'll either ignore you, think you're nuts or just not notice. Or how about finding a car in the parking lot at the mall with the lights on? It would be great if you could send a message to these people but since you don't know them, how could you do it? Through their license plate.

That's the idea behind a new Android app called Tag Texter. Using the app you can send a message via SMS or email to another driver using their tag number. If they're registered on the Tag Texter site they'll receive your message immediately on the phone registered to the tag number. If they're not registered on the site the text message will be delivered to them if they register in the future.

The app has a toolbar across the top with shortcuts to the different features. Pressing the “Text a Tag” button to enter a state and tag number and send a message. When the message is sent, the app goes into chat mode with the other driver (if available). The “Messages” option shows you a list of the last 10 conversations and earlier conversations can be accessed on the webs site. The “About” button has links to Tag Texter's Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts.

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Future plans for the app include a section specifically for selling your car so a potential buyer could access information about the car by typing in your tag number. Also planned are customized pages on the Tag Texter site where users can post bios and photos.

This is a creative idea and when used responsibly it could do some good. I see people on the road all the time with nearly-flat tires, headlights not working and other things. Everyone's always in a hurry with their windows rolled up and blabbing on the phone, so I don't make the effort to tell them about stuff like that any more. Being able to text them would be cool.

While I like the idea of this app, I see some potential problems. First, it's not likely this will be adopted by a high percentage of people on the road so you could be sending messages that never will be received by anyone. Secondly, even though the agreement at registration says Tag Texter does not condone texting while driving, this app would entice people to do just that. Lastly (and this is a big one), some people will use this to send the "digital bird" in traffic and that can lead to trouble.

It will be interesting to see how people respond to this one. It's available in the Android Market now. The iPhone version has been submitted and is pending approval.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 5:50pm]

    

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