Monday, February 18, 2013

The Mobile Web and Everyday Life

My kid was away this weekend on a winter camp-out with her Brownie troop, so my wife and I used the opportunity to have some grown-up fun while she was away. So we invited friends over for dinner and planned a meal that was decidedly not kid-friendly (i.e. no grilled cheese).

I've had a smartphone for a few years now and used apps and the browser to access information before.  Normally, I use it for getting directions and contact info, weather, restaurant reviews, movie listings, news, or checking out my social networks via Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

But this weekend, I used my mobile device in some new ways for me and I was struck by how much having ready access to a wealth of information is improving the run-of-the-mill tasks of everyday life.  

First, while enjoying our kid-free weekend and having a leisurely visit to a cafe and planning the grown-up menu for our friends upcoming visit, we used my mobile device to find a recipe for good and easy margaritas.

Then we found the nearest LCBO and grocery store on my device to pick up the ingredients.

While at the grocery store, I used my mobile device to convert recipes my wife had in imperial units to metric.  Google's voice commands made this really easy to do (as I could never do such conversion in my head).

Finally, at the grocery store, as were planning a Mexican meal and were curious about a variety of unfamiliar peppers the grocery store had. We wanted a little spiciness (not having to worry about the kid and all) but weren't looking for peppers that would have us in an emergency room.  So I googled the names of the peppers, found out their heat factor on the Scoville scale and what type of dishes they were best for.  Assured that we weren't going to be causing irreparable harm to our internal parts, we ventured out and tried new peppers.

These changes can be banal or momentous, but there is no doubt that the access to information that mobile devices and the Internet are profoundly changing the functions of everyday life.

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