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Friday, November 28, 2014

MSA plans release of goMizzou app for Android, looks into new features

Access to Blackboard and myZou could be added to the smart phone app.

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An application for the Android similar to the Mizzou iPhone app is set to be released in the spring semester.

Courtesy of Missouri Students Association

Nov. 30, 2010

An Android version of the goMizzou application will be released during spring break, Missouri Students Association Vice President Danielle Bellis said.

The free app is similar to the goMizzou app for iPhone, which includes functions like the ability to view dining hall menus, the MU directory and a campus map.

“There are going to be a few tweaks with it, but they’re going to get the same functionality up for Android,” MSA President Tim Noce said.

A beta version of the app has already been created, and Bellis said students with Android phones can download the beta version by contacting her through MSA.

The app for Android has been in the works since the day the iPhone app was released back in August.

Both the iPhone and Android apps were developed entirely by MU students and staff members. The idea was generated by Noce, who started developing the original iPhone app almost three years ago.

“Originally when I came up with the idea, there were only two other schools in the nation that had iPhone apps,” Noce said. “I said, ‘If Stanford and Duke can have these apps, then so can we.'”

But to have the app developed by one of those schools, it would have cost about $40,000 a year.

“That was just unrealistic,” Noce said.

Noce said they ran into numerous problems during the development stage regarding who owned the intellectual property of the app and who would release it. MSA was finally able to launch the app in August with the help of the Division of Information Technology, who did a lot of encoding in the final product.

Compared to the price tag the app originally had, Noce said the app was essentially free to develop.

“All in all, we were just using the resources that we were given and that’s been a pretty big plus for this,” he said.

Now that the app has been created for both iPhone and Android, there are plans to expand the app to include more features.

“One of the biggest things that we’re looking to expand is getting with athletics so we can get scores, sports updates and maybe even a live feed to your phone,” Noce said. “We were also looking at a Blackboard and myZou functionality so you can login. It’s something that’s never been done before on a phone.”

Noce also listed ideas, such as a button to dial STRIPES directly from the app and the ability to stream feeds from radio stations like KCOU/88.1 FM and KBIA/91.3 FM.

“Those are all ideas that would come in the future,” Noce said. “Although they are big challenges, it’s something that we can work toward."

The iPhone app has proven its popularity with more than 1,000 downloads within the first week of its release.

Freshman Android owner Alex Magera said he doesn’t think the app will be useful.

“All I have to do to check the menus is use the internet, and I already have a built-in GPS system in my phone, so downloading that app would just be a waste of space,” he said.

Noce said he is still excited to see the app continue to expand.

“I got to see it from the day it was just an idea,” he said. “A lot of times in student government you don’t get to see the fruits of your labor right away, but this is something that we are seeing the final product. And we have this app on two platforms - the iPhone which is really popular, and the Android, which is the next up-and-coming platform.”

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