(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:
- Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to Tweet
- Now, tracking Vatican City developments is as simple as downloading an app.
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:
- video from Vatican TV
- Twitter feed following #conclave and #pope
- bios of all the cardinals that gauges who's getting the most online buzz
- info about every conclave dating back to 1061
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.