Ever wanted to run a poll about what Xbox video game to buy next? Curious as to which movie you think you should see? Straw is one of a unique mobile polling apps that started off on Windows Phone. Some Microsoft folks develop the app in their spare time, and it is also available on iOS and Android. Today, Straw 2.0 is taking the concept of mobile balloting to a whole new level.
Straw 2.0, now live in the Windows Phone, and it brings many new additions. However, by far the biggest one is Strawcast, a free, built-in polling service. We have been using Straw 2.0 for a few days, so check out our hands-on video to see it in action!
Strawcast: Leveling the Playing Field
The idea is simple: sharing polls to your Twitter or Facebook gives you a limited audience. After all, many people do not have thousands of followers. This lack of data makes polls a bit less thought-provoking.
Strawcast gets around this by, optionally, posting your poll within the Strawcast area of the app. Likewise, the Strawcast Twitter account also Tweets your poll. This exposure means your submitted polls have the same publicity as others.
Of course, if you just want to share with your friends on Facebook or even WhatsApp, you can do that too and omit Strawcast – it is your choice.
Plus, you can just browse other people's surveys and cast your vote. Curious as to the results? Just favorite it and you can follow along.
Keep it Anonymous
The other unique thing about Strawcast is anonymity. The polls submitted do not contain any identifying information. This feature means that you could submit your poll only to Strawcast, ignore your personal social networks and get a 100% anonymous poll going.
This ability is perfect if you are asking NSFW questions, controversial political matters, or things you just do not want your friends and family to know.
Straw 2.0 Features
Let's take a look at the full changelog for Straw 2.0:
- An all-new sign-in/sign-up process. You can still log into Straw with your favorite social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Microsoft Account, but now, if you'd prefer, you can create a personalized, password protected Straw account.
- A more beautiful, easier to use interface. We heard loud and clear that you love Straw because it's simple and easy to use…so we made it even easier and simpler. The new interface is based entirely on modern design principles and will look great on your iOS, Android or Windows Phone device.
- Private results. You now have the option to make your poll results private. Anyone can vote, but they won't see results immediately afterward as they do with a public poll. This is great if you're asking a sensitive question.
- Easier poll link copying. Just swipe left on any in progress or completed poll and you'll see a "copy poll link" option.
- Embed codes are here! When you post a new poll, you now have the option of generating custom embed code, in addition to sharing the poll via StrawCast, SMS, or your social networks. Drop the embed code into a blog post or website so your readers and viewers can vote, straight from the web.
- Edit running polls in real-time. You asked, we listened! You can now change poll durations and make edits to content and copy in real time, without having to close and re-post your poll.
Between the new design, login options and things like embed codes, Straw 2.0 is feeling much more feature complete. We have been using the 2.0 app for a few days now and feel it is ready for the big time.
Considering there is no other cross-platform mobile polling app like this, Straw is just one of those things you should have on your phone. Poll your friends about getting pizza, buying that new car, or which Windows Phone you should get next – it is fun, easy, and you may just learn something. So get polling!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
Isn't this app from Ben 'the PC guy'?
Yes, he is one of the co-founders, although there are others from Microsoft working on the project too.
Cool! Ben's a dude - we need to see more of him in the UK to promote MS as a cool brand!
Really loving this app. The embeds are really hands too so that we can start using them on this site and more. So much potential here.
Only getting the older version in store beta, but erm maybe Ben can have his videos shows windows phone first in the links to download at the end ... just maybe instead of the default everyone else does which is IOS ANDROID and sometimes windows phone.
Actually, those badges are in the correct alphabetical order.
Hope Straw will eventually be coming to the Windows Store too. What would also be nice is some categories to let us find interesting polls more easily in Strawcast.
I get a "user not found " error :( edit: There is an issue with two-factor authendication and Microsoft accounts but it will be resolved
Straw was useles to me in v1. I have just about 100 followers (so: 60 bots, 30 know friends that never open Twitter and 10 people that may or may not click links). I had two polls, 1 vote and 5 votes (yes, I'm not popular). Now with v2 and Strawcast I tested a dumb question (Whether you answer polls) and I've already have more than 65 votes. It's amazing. They made it work for me. More than that: I became a poll answer addict.
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