Start-app Nation

0915dvoralewistifWith apps fOR every aspect of life, a push of a button on a mobile device is all it takes for the day to go from mundane to exciting. Quite a few of these apps were made in Israel so it’s no wonder why Israel continues to be known as the “Startup Nation.”

A significant number of apps available provide different ways for users to connect with friends. Viber allows users to make calls and message one another internationally. And all of this is free! Viber provides a better solution than other Voice over IP services, like Skype. No need to create a login or password that will inevitably be forgotten or lost. The phone number becomes the account identifier. The app also allows users to contact landlines or non-Viber users at a low rate. Viber also consumes less data than other mobile apps, ultimately saving users money.

Similar to staying in contact with friends, there are just as many apps to help users make a love connection and find their bashert. Recently launched in San Francisco, Hashsnap can be considered the dating version of Snapchat. Unlike other dating services where users write and read profiles, Hashsnap users take photos to show off their personalities. Snaps are taken live through the app’s camera. No more profile pics that look nothing like potential partners! Each day users take photos (or even videos) matching a theme, e.g. Lazy Sunday, Best Friends, Upside Down, Fun in the Sun, etc. When two people like each other, a connection is made!

Apps also provide solutions to everyday concerns. I have a hard time boarding my pets when I go out of town. Petbnb allows pet owners to search a database and find caretakers for reasonable prices. Everyday a photo of the pet is sent to the pet owners to ease their worries while they are away. There are plans to make the service available in the United States very soon.

As residents of Southern California, many of us are no strangers to traffic. Waze has become a popular navigation service for finding the best route. Drivers share traffic and road information to help save each other time and gas money. Another app that helps with outsmarting traffic and also happens to be backed by Waze’s founder is called Moovit. This app helps users navigate public transit and provides live arrival and departure times. Moovit prevents passengers from waiting all day for a ride that may never come. Both apps allow users to connect with friends and earn points, making traveling on the 405 a little more bearable.

Apps are all about making connections. Whether it be with friends, potential love interests or just getting from point A to point B—Israel has us covered.

Dvorah Lewis is pursuing her Master’s in Library & Information Science with a specialization in Archival Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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