The Mobile Location Space Continues to Heat Up
Mobile location based services are coming at us quickly, as success from the likes of Foursquare attracts companies to the space. Though there are monetization realities often ignored, this continues to be a segment worth watching, as it represents a new way users are communicating.
This week we heard from a few new companies, a few funding announcements, and a few product version updates. Below is quick outline of some (not all) of the recent activity in the segment to help you keep track.
Loopt: As we covered here yesterday, the original mobile local social play has launched its latest app, Loopt Star, which integrates check-ins and “loyalty card” rewards.
Fwix: The hyperlocal news and content aggregator continues to evolve into a broader platform play. Yesterday it launched its API and series of widgets that third-party mobile and online developers can use to create hyperlocal apps.
Buzzd: The mobile social app has begun to aggregate check-ins from Foursquare, Gowalla and others to become a more comprehensive local content aggregator. All of this is mashed up to create a proprietary measure of trending places (or Buzz) in a given local vicinity.
Rummble: The U.K.-based social mobile start-up raised $800,000 from m8 Capital, which it will use to improve its user experience and headcount. The product is a recommendation engine, employing a self-described “page rank for local places.” And of course it has the increasingly “table stakes” check-in functionality.
BeThereDeals: The new mobile local service has launched to provide time sensitive deals to users who search for nearby merchants. It joins a crowded space and will rely on SMBs to sign up to promote and manage these deals (major uphill battle). Its first launch is a free iPhone app that covers San Francisco.
Pleet: Similar in some ways to BeThere Deals, it will offer time sensitive promotions based on a variation of Foursquare’s check-in model. Instead of checking in where you are, users check in where they will be later, which queries the system for available offers. An interesting idea with a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma on the horizon.
Layar: Lastly, the list wouldn’t be complete without augmented reality. Layar has released the latest version of its Reality Browser for Android. It takes a step back from AR interfaces to also provide a more conventional list view of nearby places, which can be sorted by category. A good multimodal approach (holding the phone up can be tiresome) that could be a model for future AR apps.