App of the Week: Osito
App Name: Osito Price: Free Available Platforms: iOS
What does this app do?: Osito, an iOS app developed by former Google employee Bill Ferrell, wants you to stay on top of your day.
The app accomplishes this by using something called predicative intelligence, a method by which it makes recommendations on a probable outcome based on data it gleans from your device. In this case, Osito sifts through information from your calendar, location data and Gmail account, and then offers you helpful tips such as, "It's going to be cooler in Brooklyn today than it was yesterday," or, "It's time to leave for your appointment." The app runs in the background of your device, sending you push notifications as it determines information, all while trying to keep the battery usage to a minimum.
Once a user opens the app, he or she can swipe through a main feed that displays a snapshot of the day with essential information, such as weather and traffic alerts, appointments on a calendar or the status of his or her commute, as well as the ability to share updates and alerts with friends. Osito offers travelers some added benefits, too. For example, the app sends flight reminders as well as a boarding pass and the ability to book a taxi to the airport.
In testing the app, Osito was slow to start while it tracked and figured out data from our profile; it reminded us of events on our calendar, but it didn't warn us of those flash floods that swept through Manhattan this past Thursday. By Friday morning, however, the app seemed more responsive, informing us the weather in Brooklyn would be cooler than the day before.
Even with all of the information Osito endeavors to provide, the app firmly asserts it won't trouble you with too much. "No news is good news," the app proclaims, saying it will only send you the most important information you need and not a slew of data you don't.
Is it easy to install: Yes. However, be sure to grant Osito access to your calendar and locations services. Users are not required to sign in to their Gmail account with Osito, but you might consider doing so if you rely on your Google calendar to schedule appointments.
Should I try it?: Osito aims to compete with other machine learning apps out there such as Google Now, which offers many of the same services and the added convenience of working right from the Google search app. However, Osito's simple layout and promise to remain as unobtrusive as possible makes it an appealing alternative for iOS users.