Is there a new pope? There's an app for that

Mar 12, 2013

Want to know the minute the Vatican has a new pope? There’s an app for that.

The aptly-named app Conclave, which includes a live stream of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, says its users will be “among the first to see the white smoke rise.”

And it appears Conclave has company. promises to notify users “as soon as the smoke [rising from the Sistine Chapel] turns white!”

White smoke billowing from the chapel’s chimney signals a new pope has been chosen. Thousands of people have been known to gather in St. Peter’s Square to watch for the smoke signal in person.

“You could be asleep or busy doing something and miss the [announcement] ‘Habemus Papam!’” – “We have a pope!” in English – says the free site created by, a fellowship of Catholic college students. Users can sign up to be notified via email, text message, or both.

Followers of the conclave can also visit the Guardian newspaper’s no-fuss site for a quick update. There, visitors will find an animated replica of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney with, for now, black smoke billowing over the word “No” in bold, can’t-miss print.  

And for gaming types, there is, which encourages users to join the Fantasy Conclave for a chance to win sponsor-provided prizes. There is no fee to join, and “there’s no risk or wager involved,” according to the site.