Launched in 2008, the YouVersion Bible App was created by a team at LifeChurch.tv to help engage people with the Bible. Among the first 200 apps offered as part of Apple’s app store, YouVersion is now recognized by Appsfire and ranked #3 and #9 Best App of All Time for iPad and iPhone, respectively. Now, YouVersion has made it possible to see how many people are reading the Christmas story during the holidays. I asked the man behind the project, Pastor Gruenewald, a few questions about how this project developed, what kind of technology it runs on and what may be in store for the future. Here’s what he said:
What is the Christmas Story Tracker and where did the original idea come from?
Every year NORAD offers a Santa tracker so people can watch his progress as he delivers gifts around the world. We wanted to do something similar for the story that gave birth to the season. Every time someone uses the Bible App to read a verse about the Christmas story, the map lights a star on their country. A counter at the top right shows the total number of readings from the YouVersion community since December 1.
What regions do you see the most traffic coming from for the Christmas Story Tracker and what other interesting statistics can you share/infer from the data?
The regions of activity appear to reflect our overall community. Currently, about 60% of YouVersion users are in North America and the Christmas Story Tracker appears to resemble that distribution.
What technology is being utilized to run the Christmas Story Tracker?
We already have extensive analytics that we use across our apps and API. We are aggregating all of these sources to a large data store (billions of records) on Google’s cloud services and processing that data with BigQuery. We this take this slice of data and display it via a web front end at http://christmas.youversion.com.
Does YouVersion have any exciting new developments/features looming on the horizon? If so, can you give us a bit of a preview?
We are really looking forward to 2013 and developing more features that will help people make the Bible a part of their everyday life. The features our team are currently working on emphasize more offline capabilities and new ways that you can experience the Bible App in the context of trusted relationships and groups. There should be a lot of exciting developments in 2013!