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How iPhone Postcard Apps Work


Find Missing Addresses with a Postcard App
If you've forgotten the addresses of your nearest and dearest, you can use some postcard apps on your phone to help track them down.
If you've forgotten the addresses of your nearest and dearest, you can use some postcard apps on your phone to help track them down.
Don Carstens/Getty Images

Don't know a friend's snail-mail address? Luckily for you and your poor planning skills, the apps that send physical postcards are figuring out ways to help with that problem.

Postcard on the Run offers more than locator maps and scratch-and-sniff postcards. It will track down those snail-mail addresses that you never bothered to get from your friends. When you're ready to send your postcard, the app asks you to choose the people in your phone's address book who should get one. If their postal address isn't in the book, you can ask the app's "Postal Gopher" to send them a text or e-mail asking for their mailing address.

Postagram, run by app company Sincerely, introduced some new features in April 2012, including help with mailing addresses. "Sincerely Magic" helps you send a physical postcard to anyone who uses Postagram or any of Sincerely's other apps (such as PopBooth and Sincerely Ink). With your permission, the app searches your phone's address book and loads Postagram with addresses for everybody who's a Sincerely user. Sincerely will search e-mail addresses to see if the user already has a physical address on file. Eventually, the company hopes, most people will become Sincerely users, so all you'd need to send something through the U.S. mail is your friend's e-mail address. [source: Perez]

Postagram also has added a QR (Quick Response) Code to its postcards. Recipients are urged to scan the "stamp" when they receive a postcard. Scanning does several things: It downloads a digital copy of their real postcard so recipients can also show it off on Facebook, Twitter or wherever they want. In other words, they get a virtual postcard as well as a physical one. Also, when the QR code is scanned, Postagram lets the sender know the postcard reached its destination. And it adds the sender's snail-mail address to the recipient's address book, making it easy for that person to send a postcard in return -- and building that address network.

Now it's easier than ever to tell somebody "Wish You Were Here" and share your experiences. Skip the souvenir shop and the post office. All you need is a few clicks on your iPhone.


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