Feeds

LinkedIn killing CardMunch biz-card scanning app

Small cellulose rectangles 1, Internet 0

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Way back in the year 2000, Palm Inc tried to kill off the business card with a feature called “beam” that allowed users of its handheld computers to distribute their contact details by infrared, so that they'd be sucked up into one's contacts file.

The feature never quite took off, despite Palm's infamous ad depicting it as good way to arrange a hookup. The exchange of small cellulose rectangles bearing basic identity and contact data – aka business cards – remain ubiquitous today. And also remains anachronistic at a time when nearly everyone carries a smartphone and would dearly love the chance to digitise data on business cards.

In February 2011 LinkedIn tried to do something about that anachronism by acquiring a company called CardMunch, whose app used an Iphone's camera to scan and digitise business cards. CardMunch distinguished itself by using real people to assist with the scanning process instead of relying solely on optical character recognition, so that once it added your newly-scanned contact to your phone the data about them would be clean.

Once LinkedIn got its hands on CardMunch it added another feature: freshly scanned contacts could be added as a LinkedIn connection.

For a time all was well. CardMunch worked as advertised. Users wondered when an Android version would emerge, which seemed like a very sensible idea. LinkedIn was silent on that idea and now we can make an educated guess about the reasons because overnight the company emailed CardMunch users to say it's killing off the app.

The company isn't saying why, other than expressing a desire to “continue to bring you the best tools to manage your professional life.”

The good news for CardMunch's users is that LinkedIn has teed up a replacement service in the form of two years' free business-card scanning from Evernote. That service already hooks into LinkedIn, so there's not likely to be a significant degradation in service.

LinkedIn's email to CardMunch users is brief and full of corporate double-speak, so we're left to speculate about its reasons for the closure. The most obvious reason is that the app simply wasn't driving enough traffic to its services to justify either an Android port or its continuation. With Evernote offering a similar service, LinkedIn has decided it can continue to offer a scanning service without having to expend its own time and/or energy. And it even gets an Android option it couldn't be bothered to build.

Dyed-in-the-wool users, and the workers doing the card reading, are the losers. LinkedIn breaks even and Evernote gets a chance to bolster its customer numbers.

And business cards will continue to pile up, unloved, unread and defiantly analog. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.