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Summary:

Where, a location-based mobile application from Boston-based uLocate, is quickly becoming a must-have on newer mobile platforms such as the iPhone and Android. It’s been download 2 million times and garnered a million registered users, numbers that are likely to head further north once Palm launches […]

image001Where, a location-based mobile application from Boston-based uLocate, is quickly becoming a must-have on newer mobile platforms such as the iPhone and Android. It’s been download 2 million times and garnered a million registered users, numbers that are likely to head further north once Palm launches its Pre — Where is a showcase application on Palm’s new webOS.

I like using the Where app on my iPod touch, mostly because it acts like a “portal” for a lot a location-based services. It has integrated many individual LBS apps, such as Locate Starbucks and Yellow Pages. But it’s gone beyond simple aggregation to unify various different services into one, seamless experience. For instance it allows you to search for a movie, make dinner plans — and share both with anyone in your address book.

I recently met with uLocate’s executives, who shared Where’s usage data with me. Of those million registered users, they told me, 200,000 are using it on an Android platform — far more than on the iPhone. That’s mostly because the iPhone version of the Where app is a year old and in need of a major performance upgrade. The company plans to release a new iPhone version shortly.

According to uLocate execs, Social Networking, Local Search, Weather, Movies and News are the five most important usage categories. Among the top brands “searched” via Where are Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, Target, Papa Johns, McDonald’s, Bank of America and Taco Bell. Clearly people are searching for “fast food” on Where. Big surprise — half of its users are under 44.

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  1. How is this any different/better than using the Google Maps app or Live Search? Both use GPS to help you find stuff nearby.

  2. Why would I want to use someone else’s idea of what is a good portal when I can assemble my own personal portal on the home screen of my iPhone from thousands of specialized apps. For example “Now Playing” is fantastic for seeing what is playing nearby or finding the nearest showing of a specific movie you want to see. By contrast, only after zooming into an area where I knew there is a theater was I able to get Where to give up what movies were playing there, I was not able to get it to give me any movie times and the theaters number is not made available Om, you really should try the examples the PR people flacked to you “search for a movie, make dinner plans — and share both with anyone in your address book,” before just repeating it – this use case does not appear to be possible. This post reads like a paid ad.

    1. i would do exactly the same but it is a seamless experience. i have been mucking around with it and yes it is a easier to do many things within the application and opening different applications. i find it useful. of course, you might not and your comment suggests that. to say that i got flacked, well you are being presumptuous.

  3. Most Searched Brands on Where… | Go and Track GPS Tracking Wednesday, June 3, 2009

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  4. Peter Cranstone Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Now imagine Where fully integrated into the browser along with What (the device capabilities I’m currently using) and Who I am (fields such as: TV Favorites: Action, Sitcoms, In the Mood for: Comedy, You Tube Favorites: Flying, Music Favorites – Country, Rock, Hip Hop). Now you would have a personal recommendation engine built into to a mobile device that could share that data with any web service out there. It would scale from the mobile device UP to the desktop.

    Where is really powerful – but is only one leg of the stool. To complete it you need Who and What and When. With that data in real time the web becomes Personal. You just need to figure out the privacy issues and that should always remain under the control of the consumer.

    Peter

  5. Peter

    I am glad you brought that up. I think the company is moving in that direction. In my opinion, it is not a question of if, but when and every single LBS-based app maker will have to go down that route. I think Where is furthest along the way on this one.

  6. Peter Cranstone Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    >> I think Where is furthest along the way on this one.

    Of course I beg to differ ;-) but then I’m looking at a solution on my Blackberry that does everything that I talked about in my post above.

    Here’s the problem – Web 2.0 is all about the browser and web services. It works. What I want to do is extend it to mobile and remain in the browser. If this can be done then you can use one set of business logic for basically every device that connects to your service. The issue to overcome is how to safely share my “ME” data (Who I am, What my device is capable of, and Where I am) all in real time with ANY service. One approach would to think about how you can get this data and send it to a web server using the HTTP protocol. The next piece of the puzzle is to solve the problem of integrating this into the back end web service. Simple scripting and CGI would be the ticket here because there would be nothing new to learn.

    Everybody wants to leverage location data – what I want to do is enable that to happen with ANY web service vs. just single services. That way it also becomes available for the Enterprise.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    1. Peter

      I am told that the next generation of Webkit browser will have these capabilities built into it, so browsers can leverage the “location” features of the phones.

      On the furthest along comment: I believe that location-awareness should be as seamless and transparent as our network connectivity. And that is when apps can totally realize their full potential. Where(uLocate) seems to be preparing/positioning itself for precisely that kind of a future and I am sure they are going to evolve from the current “portal” into a smart starting point for mobile services.

      On ME…. well the problem is that Web 2.0 is Web 2.No when it comes to personalizing things. It was a massive step backward in my opinion, as we started using cheap-way-to-build as an excuse. Okay, I shouldn’t totally rant in the morning and it is not good for my health. :-)

  7. Peter Cranstone Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    >> I am told that the next generation of Webkit browser will have these capabilities built into it, so browsers can leverage the “location” features of the phones.

    Not quite the whole truth. The focus is shifting to Web run time engines. These require that you build a mobile widget which can then access the device location capability. These run outside the browser and are essentially one off’s. The web run time engine will always control what you can and cannot access. I don’t want that. I want to be able to access ANY device side API and then share that data e.g. A bio fingerprint reader or a wireless sensor that can detect pathogens with ANY web service. I also want the ability to encrypt that data on the fly for privacy and then when it reaches the server share it with any other data silo.

    >> I believe that location-awareness should be as seamless and transparent as our network connectivity

    Preaching to the choir. It’s exactly what I was talking about (and looking at) in my post above. What you’re describing (not to put words in your mouth) is that the Internet protocol now supports “new headers” which contain my location data… i.e HTTP_X_LATITUDE (or ANY other data for that matter) – now all the web app has to do is simply read what’s on the wire. That’s how it currently works, you just need a way to add more data to the existing protocol.

    >> On ME….

    Don’t give up just yet. The future is personalization – what needs to be figured out is the following.

    The consumer wants three things:

    1. Convenience
    2. Privacy
    3. Control

    The Enterprise wants one thing

    1. To Make Money

    These entities now have to come into alignment. Nobody wants to really learn anything new, they just want it all to work seamlessly as you say. The Internet is client – tone – server. So any solution has to involve all three elements for it to succeed. Web 2.0 has laid the infrastructure for programmers to mash out to just about anything. They can aggregate, collate and socialize just about anything. The next step is to extend that to mobile. There are two approaches – Mobile apps or Web services in the browser. One scales across all devices (the browser) one doesn’t (unless you have lots of money to spend on building apps)

    Personally I think the future of the web is that it will recognize me, my device and my location and that content will be personalized on the fly from multiple data sources.

    Cheers,

    Peter

  8. Android Phones Launched in Canada: Rogers Has Some Interesting Firsts | Voice on the Web Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    [...] Om Malik’s post today, With 2M Downloads, Where Is Right on Track, it appears that ”Where” is the most popular Android application. However, for Rogers’ [...]

  9. Boombile.com » Blog Archive » My6sense raised $2 million Wednesday, June 3, 2009

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  10. With 2M Downloads, Where Is Right on Track Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    [...] With 2M Downloads, Where Is Right on Track Written on June 03, 2009 by Josh Pigford and No one has commented Where, a location-based mobile application from Boston-based uLocate, is quickly becoming a must-have on newer mobile platforms such as the iPhone and Android. It’s been download 2 million times and garnered a million registered users, numbers that are likely to head further north once Palm launches its Pre — Where is a showcase application on Palm’s new WebOS. Read the rest of this post on GigaOm → [...]

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