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Summary:

Wondering where the world’s largest artichoke is? Not really (it’s 78.5 miles from me). What about the closest brewery? Well, that’s a little closer to the mark and only 3 miles away. You can find a dozen purely novel and occasionally useful mobile location based services […]

where_home.pngWondering where the world’s largest artichoke is? Not really (it’s 78.5 miles from me). What about the closest brewery? Well, that’s a little closer to the mark and only 3 miles away. You can find a dozen purely novel and occasionally useful mobile location based services like these from a new mobile GPS-based application called WHERE from startup uLocate.

The Massachusetts-based company founded in 2003 is doing a public push of its application today. The downloadable application costs $3 per month and is available on some Sprint handsets such as the RAZR and the Sanyo Katana. Of course the “Find the nearest Sprint store,” is one of the more boring look-ups, but maybe helpful if your phone crashes while in use.

uLocate is calling WHERE a platform for mobile LBS widgets because you can personalize which services you choose to use on your cell phone and you can use the Where.com website to drag-and-drop new services to your phone.

where_widgets.pngSome of the widgets like Zillow’s Zestimates, or find State Parks don’t seem to be that useful for the GPS function, but other ones like local weather or directions are more GPS intensive. The most interesting thing about the platform is not necessarily the widgets that are available now, but the fact that the company has a developer program, which it is also anouncing today. The developer program helps third party publishers create their own LBS applications. That is actually pretty cool.

uLocate is the application creator behind Helio’s Buddy Beacon and MapQuest Find Me. The company is venture backed by Kodiak Venture Partners and GrandBanks Capital but for some reason won’t disclose the entire amount of funding it has raised — only that it received $4.5 million in a second round of funding in September of 2004.

Mobile LBS is one of the most over hyped mobile markets around, but I also think the service at $3 per month is priced accordingly for what you get.

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  1. I dunno, it could be pretty cool to beam down Zillow info about how the price of the house you’re pointing your phone at.

  2. Katie Fehrenbacher Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Its a nice idea, but the problem is when you get a location fix on your phone on a street it has a hard time finding what house you are interested in. It’s finding the location of the phone, not the house you like. It never picked the right house when I tested it. If you’re actually in the house then you probably know the address already and you can more easily just enter it in — which would make it a cool mobile Zillow app, not a GPS-intensive mobile Zillow app.

  3. Jesse Kopelman Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    I like how it is only available on Sprint, but they don’t want to tell you that directly so they give you a drop down list and every choice but Sprint returns as unavailable. The funniest part is that Alltel made the list, but T-Mobile didn’t!

  4. David G from Zillow.com Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Hi Katie, it’s David from Zillow

    If that’s not working for you, a simple way to get Zestimates on the go is to e-mail the address to Z@labs.zillow.com.

    I’ll pass on your feedback about Zestimates to uLocate.

  5. Actually, for Zillow widget it is doing the best guess of your location based on GPS, and it will try to populate the address of the house that you are standing in front of. I guess one scenario would be to walk around the neighborhood and see a nice house that you may want to zestimate on the spot. GPS comes handy in that scenario as it populates the address based on your current phone location. You may, however, need to retype the building number as GPS is not always that accurate, but is still way faster than typing the full address of the property on your phone (just typing city and state, not to mention the street name on mobile phone is cumbersome).

  6. There are so many “web based services” for mobile phones now and new services rolling out every day. How about a post that covers these service plans and how good they are in terms of speed? Do they still charge based on bytes downloaded/uploaded? or they have flat service charges per month? What are the most commonly used applications that are “mobile web enabled”.

  7. Katie, you don’t mention it in your article, but Eventful is one of the widgets that is available on WHERE as of today, enabling users to search for local things to do from our database of over 3 million future events. This is a milestone for us — uLocate’s WHERE app is the first mobile app that lets you search our whole system via a mobile phone. The app uses our API.

  8. Katie Fehrenbacher Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Brian, thanks for the add. I was using it a bit yesterday — good stuff.

  9. jeepx.net » Blog Archive » uLocate Widgets for AGPS phones Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    [...] on GigaOm, Press [...]

  10. should be cool with iPhone!

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