Where uLocate with mobile widgets

20 Comments

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.

20 Comments

Juan

Hi everyone.

A few days ago, I was surfing the web and I found out a project that works over most mobile phones which lets you know where your friends are in real time and update your status in twitter. It´s called Dimdix.

On their website they say you don´t need a GPS system to detect your location. Does anyone know how this works?

I´m using a Motorola L7 and amazingly it detected my location.

I cannot stop thinking of all the things I could do with it.

If anyone wants to take a look you can go here

Thanks,

Regards,

Juan

Rocky Agrawal

@Ivan- Great job on the GPS Twitter widget. It really enhances Twitter. Now in addition to answering “What are you doing?” you can answer “Where are you?” easily.

Ivan

If you are part of the latest twitter craze (if not go to twitter.com and hook yourself up) you may want to try GPS Twitter widget on Where. It is simple, but perfect for ocassional GPS nano-posts when you want to send your location with the tweet. GPS Twitter widget places your tweet on the map and lets your followers see your tweet both on desktop and mobile map versions depending on notification type.

if you have Where account you can try GPS Twitter at

http://www.where.com/jin/welcome.jin?tag=twitter

Brian Dear

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.

Pankaj

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”.

Ivan

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).

Jesse Kopelman

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!

Katie Fehrenbacher

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.

Liz Gannes

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.

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