I must say, since getting an iPhone, a day doesn’t go by where I don’t discover (or at least imagine) a new way to use the crazy thing. Sure, it may just be flicking a virtual zero-carbon Zippo lighter for cheap effect at a concert. Then again, it may be an app that lets me blow the whistle on the next major eco-crime.

I’ve found a few cool ‘green’ apps, and along the way have also been working to understand when it makes the most sense for companies to develop their own apps as part of an online or social media marketing strategy. So warm up your touch-screen fingers and let’s have a look.

mzl.scejgsul.480x480-75Findgreen – an industry-leading green app developed right here in Vancouver This app was originally called 3rdWhale, brainchild of a Vancouver-based company of the same name. In October, 2009, 3rdWhale Mobile merged with Colorado-based GenGreen, forming GenGreen Digital Media and inheriting North America’s biggest green business database (and a much more logical and usable moniker) in the bargain. Findgreen has a handy ‘roller’ interface that lets you select categories for green products or services which the app then cross-references with your phone’s location to give you options withing walking, biking or driving distance. It feels a little light on content locally, but a recent partnership with Green Zebra (the eco-conscious coupon book) adds a cool discount feature. Mobile 2010 new - smallWhen you see a listing with the ‘coupon available’ tag, you can click it for an instant Green Zebra discount that you can use just by showing your phone. Only thing missing? A whole list of the ‘coupon-only’ pages for us Scots.

mzl.wotqbrcy.480x480-75The Green Book (LITE) – Find one at a used bookstore This app is based on a New York Times Bestseller, billed as the ‘Everyday guide to saving the planet one simple step at a time’. I rather Scottishly opted for the free ‘LITE’ version, and found it to be a fairly basic level offering of green information. Perhaps the paid version  As well, the interface is linear – you flip through it page by page like a little booklet. I’m getting more used to interactive apps on my iPhone and found myself wishing for a bit more fun.

mzl.wtulsqsq.480x480-75Green Spot – A great place to start some green research Billed as “Your one daily place for news, views, and podcasts on Sustainability and Green Living”, this app gets my vote as an excellent source of stories, articles and podcasts to get the green cells thinking. Good fodder for killing time on public transit. Unfortunately, the interface looks like it was designed in Microsoft Word.

mzl.xmpzlxzk.480x480-75EcoSnoop – Put on your balaclava and get in the trenches When I read about this app’s use of the iPhone camera to catch eco-offenders in the act, and post ‘cases’ according to GPS location, I was intrigued. Not all reviewers share this view – one poster called it ‘a disgusting climate Nazi app’. It hardly seems too offensive at this stage, as most offences are of the ‘Mid-day watering’ or ‘Excessively lit museum’ variety. I think it could go viral with a high-profile post or two, though. Watch for future blog articles as I might try to up the ante with this one.

Got a green app you like? Let me know.

Next post: Does YOUR business need a smartphone app? Some questions to ask that may help you find out.

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