At SXSW, Location Awareness Is The New Black

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The annual SXSW Festival is on, and this year I am surprised by the number of location-aware mobile services being launched in Austin, Texas, many of them for Appleā€™s iPhone.

  • SocialBomb launched its Paparazzi game, which allows you to click and share photos of your friends and having them mapped to location. I love this little game. Too bad I have moved off the iPhone platform.
  • Dennis Crowley, creator of Dodgeball is back for an encore with Foursquare, which turns nightlife into a game (at least for those who live in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin). The New York Times has a review of the service.
  • Pelago launched Whrrl 2.0, which allows you to share your day and life based on location, using photos and text, to a private network of friends.
  • Lastly, check out Gowalla, a location-based travel game by Alamofire.

Most of these apps are leveraging the built-in GPS features of the iPhone and its user interface to create a new kind of user experience. (Related Post: The Commoditization of GPS & the Golden Age of Location-based Services)

17 Comments

Robin Browne

With the explosion of location aware smart phones, location aware apps were the next logical step. I think that’s partly because they do something that Google doesn’t: give you local search results. For example, when I search Google for “Movies” I get every movie ever made, anywhere. But when i fire up Flixster on my iPhone it gives me the movies closest to me. And I love how I can enter a generic term like “grocery store” in my iPhone’s map feature and it will find me the nearest ones. Another neat application is, instead of just pushing out info like these apps, you could use the GPS feature to allow people to upload info and aggregate it based on geography. Wayne MacPhail of rabble.ca told me about this one and uses the example of a hypothetical app called Plowed where people look out their window in the winter and see if their street is plowed. They then fire up the app and enter Yes or No to the question, “Is your street plowed?” All the data gets uploaded to an interactive map showing where the plows have been.

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