TechCrunch today reveals some screen shots it received for the upcoming version of Loopt, which indicate a greater focus on places.
Loopt is an application we’ve written about a bunch and was one of the first apps to operate at the three-way intersection of local, mobile and social. This will be an important combo for mobile apps, which will continue to manifest in different combinations. Google’s Latitude is the most recent example and could shine more of a mainstream light on apps like Loopt (or crush them).
Back to Loopt 2.0: The tabs at the bottom have a new addition called “places,” which could indicate a new navigation paradigm for the application. In the first version, physical places were secondary to finding out where friends were and what they were doing (“where should we meet?”).
A designated tab for places indicates a navigation feature that is more like a traditional local search engine. This also could be a play at bringing in ad revenues in letting users search for local businesses and for businesses to advertise to get in front of them on a CPC basis.
As TechCrunch correctly points out, this also makes Loopt more like Foursquare, which has been another app to mix a combination of local social and mobile components.
Another thing we’re hearing is that the focus with Loopt 2.0 will be on something called the “life graph.” Basically this takes your social graph, and lays it on top of the places you go to give you suggestions on what to do. If this sounds familiar, it’s what Foursquare, the new service from the creators of Dodgeball (acquired by Google in 2005), has been working on. Another competitor, Whrrl, launched in the App Store last year with more of a focus on places, but recently revamped its offering to focus around social stories.
V 2.0 of Loopt is expected to be out sometime this summer (just like the iPhone 3.0 firmware), according to TechCrunch.