Oogababy brings baby photos into the 21st century

mzl.exqmkswi.320x480-75Oogababy is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.

Oogababy is the latest in a line of specialist apps to allow parents the ability to create a private social network centered around the growth of their children. Beginning by inputting the data for their first child — regardless of whether or not it has been born yet — parents (or prospective parents) can then make use of the app to record various “moments” and “milestones” in their child’s life and share these things with family and friends.

The main part of the Oogababy app is split into three main components. Firstly, the Oogaboard allows users to view information on any or all of the children the user has recorded with the service, including their name, sex, date of birth, star sign, number of moments recorded and recent memories. The Oogaboard also offers an age calculator and milestone tracker, but these must be “unlocked” before they can be used — the age tracker unlocks after two “moments” have been shared, and the milestone tracker unlocks after two friends have been invited. Neither of these objectives are particularly difficult to accomplish and will likely prove to be one means to recruit additional users, but locking features like this feels a little unnecessary.

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The Oogafeed, which is the next screen over, displays information on both the user’s children and those of any other users they also follow. From the Oogafeed, users may comment on or “like” individual posts in the usual manner, and if the user owns the post they may also delete it if they wish.

Finally, the Oogafriends page allows the user to browse through the list of both babies and parents to quickly and easily jump to their profiles and interact with them.

Creating a “moment” to post on the service is a simple matter of tapping the “add” button in the lower-right corner of the screen. From here, users may post one of five different types of “moments” — text stories (with optional video and/or photo attachments), videos, photos, milestones or measurements. In this way, they can use the app to both track their baby’s growth as well as share photos, videos and amusing stories about what they have been up to. Both photos and videos may have Instagram-style visual filters applied to them, and all types of post may be made either “public” (limited to the friends users have invited to their network) or private to the user alone. All posts may also be optionally shared on Facebook and/or Twitter, and doing this creates a temporary Web page with the post that stays online for two weeks and then disappears.

This latter point raises a good question about the future of Oogababy: what do parents do with all these recorded “moments” when their child grows up or they want to switch mobile platforms? There does not appear to be any sort of “export” function, nor is there any kind of permanent Web-based component to the service, which means that users’ data, photographs and precious moments are all trapped inside the app. This is something that the team at Oogababy should consider addressing, as the whole point of the service is presumably to ensure that precious moments as a child is growing up are captured permanently. At present, however, how “permanent” these moments are is something that is entirely dependent on the Oogababy app and online service. Perhaps the team could look at a monetized solution for this — providing the opportunity for users to purchase a bound hard copy of their Oogababy feed including all the moments they submitted would certainly provide incentive for users to continue engaging with the service over time, for example, so long as the final product was not prohibitively expensive.

For now, then, Oogababy is a well put together app with some very nice interface design, but it needs to think about the long term if it wants parents to engage with it on a regular basis. It could also do with an update to fix some occasional crashing issues, as restarting after a crash requires the user to go through the Facebook sign-in process again. This aside, it’s worth checking out for new and prospective parents, but caution should be used before using it to store any irreplaceable digital memories.

You can follow Oogababy’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.