Who Will Foster the Great Location API?

[qi:gigaom_icon_geolocation] Nextstop, a user-generated travel site, is releasing an API for its location-specific short-form recommendations. The self-funded company, founded by former Google product managers, only launched in June and has attracted low hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, however it has ambitious plans to be a global (read: not hubbed around a few cities like Yelp) and comprehensive resource of recommended places and activities.

For now Nextstop is just a web site, and an English-language one at that, but the API enables things like automated Twitter queries (built in-house as an example) where you can ask @nextstopbot what’s good and near to an address. The six-person Nextstop team, said co-founder Carl Sjogreen (best known as product manager of Google Calendar), has put much focus into laying the groundwork to scale to be “a Wikipedia of all the great places in the world,” spending much of its time working on things like a reputation system to give good users more contribution powers.

The race to build a database of the world’s coolest locations may be moving faster than San Francisco-based Nextstop, though, with companies like Foursquare — which also just released an API — using the real-time and personal nature of mobile, as well as social gaming, to incentivize user contributions. Others working on location databases include Mozilla, uLocate and Geodelic. Though it seems folks like Twitter and Facebook could easily propel themselves past the competition with their highly social user bases.

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