MyCityWay Launches New Version, Featuring the App Equivalent of a Mood Ring

By Erin Griffith , written on April 24, 2012

From The News Desk

Last month we previewed MyCityWay's new version, in which the local guide app takes on Foursquare, Yelp, Weatherbug, Yelp, Ticketfly, Zagat, and Google Maps through its all-in-one mega-app.

Well, it's here. Today that version is available in New York, and the company has put it up to a vote among four million users as to which city will get the new version MyCityWay next. It's currently in 70+ cities with the old version; Seattle is in the lead in the vote.

MyCityWay, a winner of NYC's BigApps competition and recipient of a $5 million investment from BMWi Ventures, is a comprehensive app for all things local. The new version, which boasts a major design upgrade I might add, includes a comprehensive dashboard, delivering personalized information on every possible piece of a user's life within their city. It can be customized down to the types of events the user is interested in to the lowest gas prices in the area. Weather, news, traffic, entertainment, deals, all of that stuff.

It's also live, meaning the info is all real time, and it's centralized into one place. MyCityWay has simplified the organization of its apps-within-apps as well.

Lastly, its location information is smart. For info on events like concerts, where you're likely to drive 30 miles to see it, MyCityWay automatically gives you a larger radius, which is adjustable to your needs. And for things like restaurants and coffee, the radius is dialed in to serve locations nearest to the user.

But the biggest personalization piece is color personalization. MyCityWay has conducted extensive color tests with users. They brought in testers at 6am, when they knew they wouldn't have time to grab anything to eat, and asked them to respond to the breakfast and coffee locators. They brought in testers at happy hour, played music, and set bottles of wine around to test their reactions to nightlife colors.

The result is an algorithmic mood ring that the company will implement in the coming months to enhance the emotional connection users have with the app. Basically, the app's color scheme will change depending on users' location, the time of day, and what they're looking for.

MyCityWay determined its color decisions after measuring people's emotional and physical reactions to various colors in its app-within-apps. Traditional color schemes, for example, dark purple for nightlife, aren't actually as appealing to most users, the startup found. Dark purple connotes a feeling of luxury, when nightlife can just as easily mean a good beer at a good bar. So MyCityWay landed on a blue-ish purple color.

Eventually MyCityWay will leverage the information it has on its users -- where they are, what they're looking for, and yes, their mood -- as a way to appeal to advertisers. "It's all there," co-founder Puneet Mehta said. "Location, intent, timing and targeting." Hyperlocal advertising will launch in a month, and, like I mentioned before, advertisers are interested.

The company was was selected as a startup partner in ad agency Hill Holiday’s Project Beacon initiative, which chose 12 startups to collaborate and partner with, as it develops mobile and social campaigns for its Fortune 100 clients.

As competitors like Foursquare go Hollywood and the rest stay fragmented, this app reminds me of something my mom would find useful, because it's so damn useful. It aims to simply eat up every local action you do with your phone. It may not be fun for playing around or wasting time, but it is a comprehensive utility. And thanks to its mood ring function, it now knows how you feel.