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Code red! App would warn you about angry messages

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:48pm

(CNN) -- Would it help you manage your stress level to get a warning that the text message you're about to read is your boss or partner chewing you out? The creators of a new mobile app think so.

Stress @ Work is an Android app developed by a student at England's University of Portsmouth. It color-codes incoming messages on Facebook, Twitter and via text, using their choice of language to predict their tone.

Green means positive, blue is neutral and red is a warning of potential nastiness.

Masters student Lorraine Chambers said she created the app so people know whether to expect to feel better or worse after checking in.

"The ultimate objective of this application is to make the user aware of the negative contents they receive so they are able to manage their stress in the best possible way," Mohamed Gaber, a senior lecturer at the university, added in a news release.

"For example, if most of what is received from social media websites by a user on a particular day was negative, it is important that the user attempts to take an action in order to not get stressed, especially if this may affect the individual's performance at work and/or their behavior at home."

On a sample image provided by the school, a tweet from a sender saying he had a great time the night before showed up in green, as did a text wishing the recipient a happy weekend.

Two Twitter posts with links to news stories (a movie review and a political story) earned neutral blue. Another one announcing that the next day's weather will be bad ("hope you brought a jacket") and one saying that the sender is tired and had taken the wrong bus were flagged in red.

(No word on whether the app can detect irony or sarcasm.)

Chambers and Gaber plan to present the app at a September conference in Spain. It is still in the testing phase and not yet available.

They said they plan to release it for free in the Android Market. If there is enough interest, they then hope to make a version for Apple mobile devices.

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