A look ahead to Sherbit: taking control of your data

By: Tim Hanrahan

I wanted to take a look ahead to Sherbit, and app I saw as a first time attendee at the annual Quantified Self summer conference in San Francisco. I took note of the many smartphone apps in development. The collection of apps there was bountiful and it was exciting to discover new ones each of the three days.

Naturally, there’s a bit of overlap in terms of function. Some apps focus on niche markets (sleep tracking, for ex.) and everyone is selling what makes them unique to their competition, vying for their piece of the pie.

Sherbit stood out. It aggregates all of the data collection from your smartphone and emphasizes taking your own control over the data amidst increasing privacy concerns.

Here’s a quick intro the app released this week:

One of the cool initial takeaways is how Sherbit is aggregating all of the apps you use everyday. Your socials, your locations, your Fitbit, your health data… everything. Ok, sure. But then what?

Well, it looks like they’ll be delivering new conclusions about your daily/weekly/monthly patterns. They can easily track how moving around (or maybe the lack of) could be affecting your energy. Moreover, Sherbit even stresses that they can track your coffee intake’s effect on your sleep (where was that for my post last week?!), why you may be stressed, and even if your workout routine is an optimal one.

This is the exciting potential for Sherbit that I’m most eager to see play out, even more than their focus on privacy. Their aggregate tools, and beautiful interface display already, can naturally test many quantified self experiments without us having to do more than the minimal work, even none at all. That’s a huge step for many beginners who are just discovering the power of the quantified self to improve our own lifestyle.

look ahead to Sherbit
Examples of Sherbit’s applications to receive new insights about yourself.

Where I’m curious to know more about Sherbit comes from their stance that “your data doesn’t just belong to internet companies — it belongs to you.” We can all get behind that if we feel our privacy is threatened, and I’m sure you or someone you know has some digital privacy horror story. That may outweigh the counter benefits of, for example, advertisers having access to our Facebook data. We see more sponsored posts and ads in our feed of products or news in our areas of interest that we like. For now though, Sherbit rates the privacy policies of all of your favorite apps, as they say in their introductory video earlier this year.

Sherbit is currently in Beta form and there currently exists a long wait list to try the app. However, you can find out more through Sherbit’s site (and informative blog on wearable/tech news) and join the wait list there. After speaking to founder Alex Senemar in San Francisco, he’s assured me and the attendees that applications are being readied ASAP to get everyone on the wait list in soon. Between Sherbit and my previously positive first impressions of Compass, I think we’ll be in great hands with a couple of go-to apps who aggregate.

Looking forward to getting my hands on Sherbit next. The app has some great promise, and again, stood out amongst what had to be over 40-50 other booths. You’ll definitely see a follow-up with my first impressions, QS experiments, and more of the benefits I’m sure to discover. To make sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to sign up for our QuantSelfLaFont newsletter below. We only send cool updates, like this week’s where Paul went on a five-day water fast (!)

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