Mixi and Nohana Bring Photos to Life With Parse


As Japan’s go-to destination for all things people and social, Mixi has its hands in a variety of creative outlets for bringing people together. With its roots as a social networking site, Mixi’s recent foray into gaming with Monster Strike has proven to be highly successful. Now, Mixi has developed a subsidiary named Nohana, a photobook creation app powered by Parse.

The Nohana app allows you to upload photos from your smartphone, assembling them into 20-page photo-booklets or albums that are then printed and sent straight to your door. The first book ordered in a month is free plus shipping, and users can invite family members to a secured group to share photos and make collaborative photobooks.

To date, over 100,000 photobooks have been published by over 200,000 people, uploading more than 4 million photos. For a time, Nohana was not only the number one free iOS app in Japan with over 1 million downloads, but it was also featured on national television.

With so many photos and memories flowing through the service each day, Nohana turned to Parse products for a stable and scalable way to develop a strong backend for its app. Photo data, purchase history, and user information are all stored in Parse. Cloud Code is utilized for validation of a user’s value input and for connecting with Twilio for SMS authentication.

For Kazuki Tanaka and Kenta Tsuji, developers on the Nohana team, the Parse experience has been key for the app’s development and the startup’s growth:

The biggest merit of using Parse was shortening development of server-side infrastructure. To be a successful startup, we need to maximize output by minimizing cost and time, so it was perfect to use Parse.

Additionally, Nohana uses Parse Push to engage with its users, guiding them to photobook purchases and updates within the app. In the future, Nohana plans to use Parse Push to notify users of their shipment status. Of the features used, Parse has been especially useful for three elements of Nohana’s development:

1. Administration of users are really useful—including being able to set access control for each set of data, authentication via email, password reset function;

2. Implementation of server-side is easy;

3. 3rd party integration is easy, too! (e.g. Twilio, Underscore.js)

The Nohana app is available on the App Store and the Google Play Store. Bring your memories to life in a flash!

Nancy Xiao
September 18, 2014

Quip Goes Global With Parse Push

QuipIn many workplaces, collaborative word processing is a key activity on a day-to-day basis. However, the tools we use to write collaboratively have remained relatively unchanged in the past thirty years. With Quip, this experience has become much more dynamic, and much more accessible. Quip is a mobile, collaborative word processor that works across smartphones, tablets, and the desktop.

Started in 2012 by Kevin Gibbs and Bret Taylor, the former Chief Technology Officer of Facebook and co-creator of Google Maps, Quip tackles a unique opportunity in high global demand. Having seen tremendous growth in mobile devices, Quip took to redefining the product experience for productivity apps for the era of smartphones and tablets. The Quip app works seamlessly across desktop, iOS, and Android.

Quip turned to Parse Push to handle its push notifications on Android. This was a very strategic move, given that Android has such a large, rapidly growing user base—particularly outside of the U.S. However, much of this growth has been taking place in places like China, where the Play Store and Google Services are not present. Using Parse Push, Quip was able to reach those users without having to reproduce Google’s infrastructure, and now are present on virtually all Android devices around the world. China is Quip’s third biggest country, and growing quickly. This has also proved useful for users in Russia, and on devices like the Kindle Fire in the U.S. According to Bret Taylor, CEO of Quip:

Our favorite aspects of using Parse were the great APIs and great documentation. Thanks to using Parse for notifications on Android devices without Google services, we have a much bigger presence in China.

Head on over to Quip’s desktop product to find out more, or download now straight from the App Store or on Google Play.

Nancy Xiao
September 11, 2014

Meety Makes File Sharing Easy With Parse


For businesses across the globe, file sharing has become a ubiquitous, of-the-minute tool that is constantly utilized in all kinds of work settings. Sensing an opportunity and reimagining the way files are shared, Japan’s NEOS Corporation has tackled file sharing with a fresh new take with the release of Meety. In Japan, email communication has been replaced with chat. Simultaneously, file sharing tools such as Dropbox and Evernote have drastically grown in usage. Thus, Meety sought to find a common ground between the two, developing a comprehensive chat application with file sharing features.

By using Meety’s integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, users can easily transfer files to each other—from music to movie files to PowerPoints, Word Docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, and more. Files are stored and managed in every chat room, allowing for simple search functionality if a user needs to return to the file in the future.

For execution of the app, the Meety team at NEOS Corporation turned to Parse. NEOS Corporation has a wide array of resources, including investor backing from NTT Docomo, Sharp Corporation, and KDDI Corporation. Upon coming across Parse on an external blog, the team decided to give it a try. According to Meety’s software development manager:

By using Parse, we were able to launch the service without incurring large infrastructure costs. We saved about three crucial months in developing our app, which also brought down our development costs.

Meety is now available for download on the App Store, and is coming soon to the Google Play Store.

Nancy Xiao
September 6, 2014

Elex’s Age of Warring Empire Finds A Key Ally in Parse

Age of Warring Empire
As a long-standing player in China’s gaming and internet industries, Elex was founded in 2008 with a focus on developing mobile games. With partners including Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, 7Road, and Giant Interactive, Elex has grown rapidly, rising to the forefront of game development in both Asian and Western markets.

The latest to Elex’s gaming family, Age of Warring Empire, has soared to the top of the charts, with over 20 million downloads to date. It has also charted as one of the top 30 grossing apps on Android for several consecutive months. Age of Warring Empire is supported by Parse Push, and the game is popular on both the Android and iOS platforms.

While strategy and war games are popular no matter the hemisphere, Elex decided to add yet another element of complexity to Age of Warring Empire. Beyond the basics of a strategy game, the team explored RPG elements and a top-notch player vs. player system to craft a unique experience found only in Age of Warring Empire.

These layers of complexity have attracted a strong user base, and in order to communicate directly with players, Age of Warring Empire uses Parse Push. These push notifications prove to be pivotal in gameplay, as notifications are sent when important events occur in a player’s Empire. Additionally, Age of Warring Empire is able to retain their players’ attention with a daily check-in award powered by a push notification. Competitions and flash sales are regular occurrences in the app as well, and key drivers of traffic and retention. Particular attention is paid to these events with the help of Parse Push.

As Evan Wan, producer of Age of Warring Empire, notes:

Parse is beneficial in its convenience, ease-of-use, and efficiency. Normally, it takes us more than 48 hours to acquire good data, and Parse requires less than half that time. Additionally, Parse provides us with statistical accuracy and a range of analyses.

As empires continue to flourish, and with it, the crucial importance of consistent player engagement, Age of Warring Empire can efficiently and directly communicate to players with the help of Parse Push. Age of Warring Empire is available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Nancy Xiao
August 22, 2014

Com2uS Uses Parse to Power their Top Downloaded for-Kakao Game “Heroes Classic”

Heroes ClassicWith over 100 million registered users on its Kakao Talk platform, Korea’s Kakao is quickly becoming one of the most direct and powerful channels possible for reaching potential game players. Kakao Talk is a hugely dominant player in the mobile communications market in Korea, and has begun extending its reach through gaming. Over 90 percent of mobile smartphones in Korea have the Kakao Talk app downloaded, allowing multiple game developers building on the platform to finally break through 10 million downloads.

The latest of these concepts, Heroes Classic for Kakao, is an game powered by Parse. Heroes Classic is the third output from the C-Lab’s mobile game development segment, and will be serviced by Com2uS in a collaboration between C-Lab and Com2uS. Com2uS will take care of overall game operations and promotion activities, which are already surging with over 100,000 downloads since its release on the Google Play Store on June 13th.

Heroes Classic is a role-playing game (RPG) where the main goal is to fight off as many monsters as possible within a given time. Its characters, however, are incredibly unique, falling under 8 different categories.

Heroes Classic was intentionally launched on Kakao, as it is the most popular SNS game platform. As the game approaches a global release, more of Facebook Platform’s products will be utilized to drive new user traffic. Before selecting Parse, the Heroes Classic team vetted multiple backend-as-a-service companies until Parse’s versatile features won them over. As the project leader of Heroes Classic puts it:

The main benefits of Parse for us was its scalability and Unity integration. Our favorite Parse features are the dialogue control to adjust request limits in addition to the native APIs for each programming language.

Heroes Classic is now available for download on the Google Play Store, and keep an eye out for more hits from Com2uS!

Nancy Xiao
August 21, 2014

Big Fish Games Releases A New Hit With Parse


As the long-standing veteran of the casual games industry, Big Fish is its largest producer. With a growing catalog of 3,000 plus unique PC games, and 300 plus unique mobile games, Big Fish has distributed more than 2 billion games to date. Its latest game, Cascade, is a new free-to-play title that combines Match-3 functionality with a slot machine for an entirely new, patent-pending game mechanic. Currently, the game features over 140 handcrafted puzzles to be solved by players, with even more to come with regular content updates. Upon its release in July 2014, Cascade was instantly featured as one of the Best New Games of the App Store.

Initially created by developer Funkitron Inc., Big Fish Games is the publisher behind Cascade. With new lands, characters, obstacles, and gems being added each month, Big Fish has turned to Parse to power the game’s backend infrastructure. Cascade uses a combination of Parse Core and Cloud Code to sync game data across players’ devices, in addition to utilizing Parse Push to send remote notifications. Given the popularity of playing on both iPhone and iPad, it was crucial for Big Fish to find a solution that allowed for cross-device syncing. According to a producer in the Big Fish internal studio, SkyRocket Studios, Parse has proven to be a key piece to the Cascade puzzle:

Funkitron engineers found Parse’s APIs and SDKs to be stable, full-featured, and easy-to-use, with good documentation and lots of sample code. The ability to customize the service via custom, server-side code was a tremendously useful asset as well. Parse was easy to get started with, and I thought it had a good amount of depth to it in the longer run.

Don’t miss Cascade’s new spin on Match-3! Available for download on the App Store today.

Nancy Xiao
August 15, 2014

OKpanda Tackles Language Learning in Asia With Parse


Learning a new language is often a task full of tangled tongues and frustrating phrases. With the arrival of OKpanda, however, these roadblocks to learning English may be alleviated. Launched on iOS in December of 2013, OKpanda has taken a mobile-first approach towards creating a novel curricula combined with smart gaming to pioneer innovative ways to help users learn English.

It’s not the first time this team has taken on mobile development, or gaming. Cofounded by Nir Markus, the former CTO of PlayerDuel, a mobile platform that turned any mobile game into a social game with friends, Markus and his PlayerDuel team saw installations in over 30 million mobile devices in its first year. With this experience shaping the strategy behind OKpanda, the team has initially tackled the Japanese segment of the Asian English-learning market. Japan is one of the largest language learning markets in Asia, with approximately $5 billion currently spent on language services.

For many new English speakers, OKpanda’s research found that the number one requested skill by students is conversation practice. The app then simulates real life situations, and allows the user to practice their conversation skills. Users can participate in an exchange by listening and selecting the right answer, and vocal conversation is now in the works. With this emphasis on conversation practice, OKpanda saw over 260,000 downloads in Japan within the first 50 days of its launch without any marketing spend.

As OKpanda continues to grow rapidly in Japan, and across Asia, it has become more important than ever to be able to directly reach its users. Given the repetitive and consistent nature of language practice, engagement through Parse Push has allowed OKpanda to continually captivate the concentration of their users. Currently, OKpanda releases a new conversational situation 2 times a week, and users are notified of each release through Parse Push. The choice to use Parse Push is one that has been positively reinforced through OKpanda’s ability to immediately preview how the push notification will look on mobile. Additionally, according to its cofounder Nir Markus, the team has found that the use of Parse Push has accelerated the company’s efficiency on a variety of levels:

When starting a new startup, it’s very important to move fast, especially before you’ve reached a product-market fit. To move fast, there is no need to invent the wheel, and the possibility of using services like Parse to power your product is a huge time saver.

OKpanda delivers a unique language-learning experience that can be found now on the App Store. Mobile language learning finally has a taste of the best of both worlds–it’s now both fun and easy.

Nancy Xiao
August 8, 2014

Red Bull Brings Its A-Game to Mobile With Parse Core

Red Bull WallpapersWhile some reach for Red Bull on the shelves of beverage aisles, the global brand itself has reached far beyond the boundaries of any storefront. Since 2007, the Red Bull Media House has been constantly seeking innovative ways to expand the boundaries of the user experience that is the Red Bull brand. From its inception, Red Bull Media House sought to establish itself as a multi-platform media company with a focus on sports, culture, and lifestyle. Given the wide range of media products housed across its umbrella brand, Red Bull Media House began to double down on app development in 2009 in search of ways to tie them all together. Today, Red Bull Media House has put 30 apps to market across all platforms.

Its latest hit, Red Bull Wallpapers, is a demonstration of Red Bull’s incredibly unique offerings, and of its ability to bring them together in innovative ways with Red Bull Media House. With the use of Parse Core, Red Bull Wallpapers brings captivating imagery from the World of Red Bull straight to the palm of a user’s hand. Android users can customize their home and lock screens with static wallpapers or with animated and enhanced live wallpapers of their favorite Red Bull athletes. Other choices include photos from sports including motocross, motorsports such as Formula One, skateboarding, surfing, skiing, BMX, and more.

In order to deliver such high-quality sports photography to its mobile users, Red Bull Media House utilizes Parse Core to store and load all wallpaper-related data. This includes the name of the athlete or the photographer credits. The data browser is also used for analytics, insights, and updating the use count.  With the use of Parse, development time is saved on the server side, enabling developers to focus even more strongly on the core aspects such as quality and content of the app.

Alongside the release of Red Bull Wallpapers, the brand has become more prominent than ever by tackling all perspectives of a customer’s daily life. From the home screen to the big screen and beyond, experiences such as the one offered by Red Bull Wallpapers provide an inspiring extension of the Red Bull brand.

Nancy Xiao
July 25, 2014

Wargaming’s World of Tanks Blitz Uses Parse Push to Keep Users Engaged

Wargaming takes the world by storm once more with the release of World of Tanks Blitz onto iOS.  Wildly popular on desktop, World of Tanks has attracted more than 85 million players from all corners of the globe.  Now, Wargaming has put the franchise directly into the hands of its players, running on iPad 2 and up or iPhone 4S and up.  Featuring over 90 tanks from Russia, Germany, and the U.S., players can challenge each other in synchronous 7-on-7 matches.

Since its release, gamers have been spending an average of 70 minutes in the game. With player engagement and long-term retention representing a core challenge, Andrey Ryabovol, Director of Global Operations at World of Tanks, turned to Parse to power push notifications as part of their strategy.

Screenshot OneScreenshot Two

Wargaming sought to develop its mobile version of World of Tanks Blitz from the ground up.  Rather than making a port of the PC game, the team uniquely tailored the controls and experience towards use on a smartphone or tablet.  However, building their own notification solution would have taken significant resources and time. By leveraging Parse Push, Wargaming was able to focus on product development and the messaging behind keeping players informed and active in the game. High quality, targeted push notifications are crucial to keeping players engaged, especially throughout World of Tanks Blitz’s 10 tiers of gameplay.  Parse Push will also be used to announce the sale of exclusive in-game items, such as premium, high-end tanks.  As Andrey explains:

Parse Push is the ideal solution for us because it is easy to adapt to our business needs.  We have a lot of data, putting a lot of pressure on the system, so Parse was the perfect solution for data management. We consider our cooperation with Parse and Facebook as a long-term strategic partnership.

World of Tanks Blitz is available for iOS on the App Store.  See you on the battlefield!

July 18, 2014

Groupon Taiwan Uses Parse Push to Offer Deals with Ease

Groupon Taiwan

Discovering the best of a city, planning a vacation, and searching a specially curated selection of electronics, fashion, and home furnishings is easier than ever with the scale of Groupon.  As a global leader of local commerce, Groupon has emerged as one of the most powerful channels on earth for consumers to find and enjoy unbeatable deals.

Groupon’s extensive reach is especially acute through its Groupon Taiwan market.  By redefining how traditional small businesses attract, retain, and interact with customers, Groupon Taiwan has become not only a key destination for consumers, but a key tool for merchants as well.  Mobile purchases have surged, and with it, Groupon Taiwan’s crucial need to develop a comprehensive, cross-platform app to build a closer relationship with their customers.

Since the launch of Groupon Taiwan’s site, both Parse and Facebook Login have served as standout components of their success.  The Groupon Taiwan app saw thousands of downloads per week after its initial release.  Facebook Login has played a key role in saving customers’ time during the registration process.  According to Groupon Taiwan’s lead UI designer,

Facebook Login saved our users’ time during the registration process, making it that much easier for a new user to make their first purchase.

Simultaneously, Parse Push has helped to retain those users and drive a much deeper, long-term relationship with Groupon Taiwan customers.  Parse Push streamlines the process for Groupon Taiwan to contact its customers, especially given the time-sensitive nature of its highly sought-after deals.  For Groupon Taiwan, the use of Parse has been a reliable way to tackle retention and user communication,

We use Parse to push hot deals to our customers.  It’s quick and cost-saving, and a direct way to reach our app users.

As Groupon continues to scale internationally, Taiwan is a market that has established an efficient and easy-to-implement method of regularly connecting with its devoted customer base through its use of Parse Push.  Groupon Taiwan is available for download in the Google Play Store and in the App Store.

Nancy Xiao
July 11, 2014