Indonesian app Harpoen is an interesting take on context and location

Indonesian app Harpoen is an interesting take on context and location

Friday August 09, 2013,

3 min Read

In a recent trip to Yearcaud, a small hill station in Tamilnadu, I found a small Italian bistro that a lady ran from the back of her home. I thought the cosy location of the place and the food was an amazing experience and I have since been recommending it all my friends who are planning a trip to the place.

With the advent of social networking platforms like Facebook, I now have more than friends whom I just talk to. A simple message on the platform or a status update is perishable; tweets? Even more so. How do I make a timeless recommendation about a place? Or like J P Elis says, "make spaces talk."


Indonesian mobile app Harpoen has got just the thing.Add context to places with memories

Here's a quick demo of Harpoen, by founder J P Elis -

Think of it as geotagging. I can geotag a location and add what I feel about the place on Harpoen. The app talks to my social data via login (Facebook and Twitter). Via this, my opinion or feeling about a place is made visible to my complete friend circle. Furthermore, this information will always be available to them whenever they visit the place.


Building further on the concept, the app shows other places in the vicinity that your friends have visited and tagged. It represents the data either as a contour diagram or as a list of activites from your social circle on Harpoen. It's almost like a digital graffiti, which only your friends can see.Apart from the social integration, Harpoen also integrates with your Instagram account.

Location, design and context

Harpoen as a concept can work anywhere. It's available on the iOS and Android platforms and it's userbase seems to be predominantly in the Indonesian However, it is relatively unknown in the Indian context. Though settled in Jakarta, the entrepreneurs, J P Elis and John Patrick, are of American descent and hence could have a channel to popularize Harpoen in the US as well. Also, we faced multiple force closes on Harpoen's Android app, particularly with the Instagram login.


Barring these problems, I believe that Harpoen is an interesting approach to location and context. If its performance issues are sorted, I would recommend this app to my friends. It's well designed and follows all design principles on the respective platform. I especially love the AR representation of the app and from a design standpoint, it sets the bar for other apps from the region.It is now a question of users. I think Foursquare and other location specific app users shouldn't have problem adopting Harpoen. This makes fixing the performance issues on the app all the more critical.

Download Harpoen and tell us what you think

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