What if you had a great app idea that involved building the type of social networking features we’ve all come to love in Instagram and Facebook, and you wanted it to scale to millions of users in the first year and it needed to be developed in a matter of months.

If you had come to me with this request just a few years ago, I probably would have (in this order) smirked, looked to the heavens and in the end spent many sleepless nights trying to resolve server errors. Fortunately, it is 2013 and this means I don’t have to do any of the above. All I have to do is look to the Cloud, err the metaphorical Cloud that is.

Our client Finding Rover came to us with this very request. It was a great app idea to help find lost dogs using facial recognition technology.  Over the course of months (not years!) we were able to build an app that not only used facial recognition technology, but also had the social sharing capabilities of Instagram plus Facebook for dogs.

How did we do it? We leveraged over 10 existing cloud services to build, test, launch and manage their app. By doing this, we drastically reduced development time and costs, which then gave us the freedom to focus on what really mattered: functionality and user experience

Here’s a short list of the cloud services we used to accomplish our mission: Parse (our backend), Heroku (hosts our facial recognition engine), New Relic (backend performance analytics), Google Analytics (in-app analytics), Geckoboard (daily analytics dashboard), Desk.com (support), Centercode (beta testing), CrowdFlower (photo moderation), MailGun (email api), SquareSpace (web hosting), MixPanel (user metrics), AppFigures (App Store performance), Fiksu (mobile marketing) and Grasshopper (voice system).

Each one of these 3rd party cloud services allowed us to leverage the knowledge and expertise of professionals who’ve spent their entire careers perfecting the functionality we needed for the app. If we had built the app from scratch instead of relying on these Cloud services, we’d still be working on it today.

Thanks to the Cloud, Finding Rover was able to build and run their business with only one part-time support staff, one backend engineer, one iOS engineer, one designer and no servers that they own.

So yes, Finding Rover got the app they wanted plus a whole lot more, and dog owners around the country now have a revolutionary new way to locate their lost dogs based on facial recognition technology.

We think that’s something to wag about.

If you’d like to hear more about how we built Finding Rover, or if there’s an app that you’d like us to build for you, drop us a line at[email protected]