Updated: Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013, 10:22 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013, 10:18 AM EDT
(CNN) - Catholic cardinals at the Vatican begin the process of selecting a new pope, and it's a top-secret tradition that relies on smoke signals to send the only public notification in the decision-making process.
But there's a new way to track what's happening in Rome without actually being there.
It's been nearly eight years since the conclave last selected a pope.
There have been a lot of changes in how the world communicates since then:
Logos Bible Software decided to develop the conclave app after hearing about the pope's plans to resign. The company's director of Catholic products says there was a working app prototype within 48 hours, and the free app was ready for release by last Thursday.
Here's some of what it offers:
The company, which specializes in religious software, says it's just doing it to be a part of the event.
And it has a short shelf-life. The company says after the conclave ends, it doesn't plan to keep the app updated.
In addition, the conclave chimney -- that the world's eyes are on -- has its own Twitter account. You can follow it @conclavechimney, where it states it sees "life in black and white" and that "I puff black smoke when there is no new pope, and white smoke when there is a new pope." Its location? "The Sistine Roof, Vatican City," of course.