When it comes to travel, or getting the low-down on the best local pub, restaurant, view, or ice cream shop, there are tons of ways to go about finding the information. But few people are as successful as those who have the gumption to walk up to a stranger on the street and just ask. A new app, called Ask a Stranger, has taken that idea and turned it into a social hub that’s filled with answers for anyone willing to—you guessed it—ask a stranger.
According to “Ask a Stranger” scientists say that, when it comes to getting local information, asking a total stranger is 30-60% more likely to accurately predict your future experience, than basing your decision on research and inner speculation.
The app, which was beta launched in May and hit the public in November, combines a traditional “question and answer” (Q&A) service with a fun, interactive space where individuals can help and be helped navigating travel destinations and local information. Ask a Stranger features enhanced protection of privacy; all communications on the app are personal and private. There are no forums, or discussions visible to the public. Everyone who chooses to ask a question on the app will receive relevant answers only visible to the asker.
A social app giving money back to its community
With Ask a Stranger, there may be plenty of people to answer all your travel queries at a moment’s request, just waiting to help you, but there’s something in it for them too. Users are incentivized to supply speedy answers by receiving points. Every time someone supplies useful or relevant information they get paid in points, which are part of the app’s community income. The faster the answer, the more points the person will get. Once a user accumulates enough points they can cash them in for real money.
The founders of Ask a Stranger, Gabor Sved and Sándor Tasnádi, believe that services should have a price and that without a price you can’t guarantee a level of quality for the service. Though the app is a free download, users must “pay” 10 credits to fellow Ask a Stranger community members to post their query. Everyone receives 100 free credits just for signing up. They can then purchase more at $0.99 per 50 credits. In addition to asking questions, users of Ask a Stranger can engage in private chats with locals and even arrange for meet ups in order to explore more together.
Ask a Stranger currently boasts over 4,000 users and is a shortlisted nominee for Startup of the Year, for the Central European Startup Awards of 2014. The app is currently available on the iOS platform and will soon be available for Android as well.
This article originally appeared on Geektime.