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Worried about swine flu? There’s an app for that.

An iPhone app created by the Children’s Hospital of Boston and MIT Media Lab uses Google Maps to show the user’s current location and displays nearby outbreaks of infectious diseases, according to Tom’s Guide.  Users can also use the spot to search for a specific destination to check for diseases before deciding to go there.  The app’s name is HealthMap: Outbreaks Near Me, and it’s free at the iTunes store.

According to a CNET review, the app uses “data provided by HealthMap, an online service that “collects filters, maps, and disseminates information about emerging infectious diseases.”  The app allows users to submit their own reports, complete with photos.

I have to admit that I downloaded the app.  It’s apparently very popular; when I tried to use it I got a message saying “Due to a higher demand than expected for the service, performance may be slow at peak times. We are working hard to resolve this issue quickly!”

Now if someone could just create an app that would notify me of uninsured drivers near me . . .

Black’s Law Dictionary (and other legal apps) now in iTunes

The ABA Journal reports that the latest version of Black’s Law Dictionary is now available for download on iTunes.  This is the first venture by West (publisher of WestLaw) into the iPhones app arena.  For those of you who are interested, be forewarned that the price is a litlle high compared to that of typical iPhone apps.  Whereas iTunes offers Law Pod apps for 99 cents, and a version of the Constitution for free, Westlaw is asking $49.99 for Black’s Law Dictionary.  I think somebody at West may be just a little overly optimistic.

The Law Pod apps on iTunes include 99 cent versions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the U.S. Constitution.  Another publisher, David Finucane, offers a variety of legal apps at the iTune store.  These include a $4.99 version of California statutes, a $2.99 version of Florida statutes, a $2.99 version of the U.S. Code, and more.  There are other legal apps in the iTunes store, but many of these are aimed at law students.  I think we’ll see a wider number of legal apps as the iPhone market matures (the app store has only been open a little over 9 months).

Billionth App downloaded from iTunes store

Only nine months after Apple opened the App Store to let people download applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple reports that customers have downloaded one billion apps.  Connor Mulcahey, a 13 year-old kid who downloaded a free game app, will receive a $10,000 iTunes® gift card, an iPod® touch, a Time Capsule® and a MacBook® Pro.  Pretty nice stuff.

Although many of the downloaded apps are free, Apple receives 30% of the price of all paid apps.  There are 35,000 apps available at the App Store, and everyone I know who owns an iPhone, including me, struggles with App Store addiction.  Would someone organize a 12-step program, please?

This summer iPhone OS 3.0 will be released, and it will allow developers to do even more creative things.  One of those more creative things will be the ability to copy and paste, just decades after Apple invented the concept.

I use a variety of apps that weren’t designed specifically for lawyers.  Apps which are more lawyer-specific include the ABA Journal, an app with lawyer jokes, and a free copy of the Constitution.  I haven’t seen any must-have apps for lawyers, unless you’re a lawyer who bills your time by the hour.  If that includes you, they have some nice time-keeping apps you may find interesting.

Google CEO Schmidt bullish on mobile ads

In an interview yesterday with CNBC’s Bill Griffeth and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross, Google’s CEO said  he’s bullish on mobile advertising–suggesting the medium can target consumers more easily. That’s really not surprising, considering Google’s December 8, 2008 announcement of a new option that allows AdWords advertisers to show desktop text and image ads on the iPhone, the T-Mobile G1, and other mobile devices with full (HTML) Internet browsers. With more powerful browsers on mobile devices such as iPhones and Blackberrys, people are using cell phones for more than voice communication and email these days, and the trend is certain to grow.

In the interview yesterday, Google’s CEO said of mobile ads, “They should be worth more, advertisers should be willing to pay more, and there should be greater conversions, which is ultimately what advertising is about,” he said.

I agree. That’s what led me some time ago to stock up on a variety of legal-related .mobi (for “mobile”) domain names. All of my .mobi names are suitable for mobile websites, but a few are perfect for development as iPhone apps. Google announced in December 2008 that users had already downloaded 3 million iPhone apps, and that number continues to grow.

If you’re a lawyer, legal marketer or iPhone application developer interested in developing iPhone apps or mobile sites targeted at lawyer advertising, feel free to contact me to discuss development and/or advertising possibilities.

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