Feeds

LinkedIn killing CardMunch biz-card scanning app

Small cellulose rectangles 1, Internet 0

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
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.