Category Archives: Location Based Services (LBS)

Social Loco Conference

 

The Social Loco Conference, held at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco on Thursday, May 5th., was where it was at for The Future of the Social Location Revolution. The theme of this year’s conference was convergence, the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. What better keynote to represent the convergence of the social-location landscape than Google’s Marissa Mayer, VP of Consumer Products. She talked of Google’s “Evolution of Location.” and had a three pronged approach to Location that included Exploration and Discovery, Interactivity and New Perspectives.

 

Starting with Google Places, Meyer talked about how key it was to be able to get a real sense of a place when you seek information about it – its look and feel. According to Mayer, the best way to connect with the places you love is at Google Places. Live for just 6 months, Google Places already has over 50 million Place Pages that include over 5 million ratings and reviews which is a rate of 1 million a month. Its success is due to its social interaction of users who can gain personalized search results via Finding, Rating and Sharing Places. Mayer announced the launch of Google Business Photos in Google Places at the Social Loco conference. Google is offering FREE photo shoots for owners at their request. The photos are high- high-quality, panoramic photos. A great Q & A about their new offering is provided by Google. Not only is it being launched in the US, but also in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Another exciting Google announcement shared at the conference was Google Earth for the Android Tablet. Google’s Product Manager Peter Birch spoke of how the idea of holding the whole world in one’s hand has always appeared to be fiction, but it is now a reality with Google Earth’s special free version for the Android Tablet. It includes a Motorola Zoom and Android 3.0 (honeycomb) offering system. It is also very social as high-resolution photos are submitted of places through a community of photographers. The coolest thing about it is for the first time on any mobile device, 3D Viewing of Buildings is being offered.

Social Loco Conference

Meyer also chatted with John Battelle of Federated Media in a Fireside Chat. Battelle, known to draw juicy nuggets of information from his subjects, did not fail us this time around. Meyer sees Larry Page as CEO once again as a positive change due to his tremendous focus on technology. Mayer is also thrilled to be focusing now on Location rather than Search which she has in the past. The Search Group is expanding to becoming more expansive and includes Contextual Discovery based on where you are in context to your location. Although she wouldn’t officially say anything specific about Google Offers, she did suggest that they are like a movie in pre-production and at this time they are just casting – figuring out their next moves. And that Groupon purchase that never came to be, she was also not too open to discussing but did suggest that its the reason for Google’s focus on offers now and that they are open to more acquisitions. She did confirm that Google’s strategy is to definitely grow in this fast moving space known as Location.

 

Go to #socialloco and follow the conversation about the Social Loco Conference.

Flickr CC: Daniel Greene

When Foursquare, the coolest lbs kid in town, favourite of approx. 3 million users with 200 million check-ins, was down earlier this week, the social web reacted with frustration, sad tweets, and hunt for alternative check-in services.

Apparently, the most dedicated Foursquare users hooked on rewards and badges even chose to stay at home , until they were able to collect rewards of their check-ins.

“We are hearing from many users (they want to remain anonymous) that they are staying at home until the service is restored. One user called us on our tips hotline noting that it just “isn’t worth going out if you can’t get a badge”.”

The concept of check-in also continues to heat up among businesses, especially fashion industry going gaga over the new ways location based services allow brands to interact with, as monetize their customers. Good example of how hot it is, Swedish retailer giant H&M just launched their first Foursquare campaign in Sweden, regardless the fact, that use of location based services is still fairly moderate in Sweden. Gowalla holds the pole position with 35 000 users against Foursquare’s 9 000 users. The buzz and eyeballs around the campaign evidently are worth as much.

Sharing location was seemingly hot concept already back in 2007, when Facebook filed for a patent on general sharing location mechanisms. The patent was granted this week, adding an extra twist on the already competitive space.

Map.pr Finds You Interesting Places With Help Of Groups

The one not afraid of patents and competition is Swedish Map.pr. Map.pr is all about location around groups and interests, based on the idea that your friends make the best maps. Map.pr uses places from Foursquare, building enhanced search on top to let you find cool places nearby recommended by your group members. No need to trust the “Giraffe sign” :) I’ve been one of the beta testers, and since its release in July, the app has already had thousands of downloads.

When you check in with Map.pr, you still check-in with Foursquare, so you don’t miss out on any badges or mayorships. But what’s unique to Map.pr, with any check-in, one can also check-in with a group one belongs to. To give a sense of a venue’s popularity, unlike Foursquare, Map.pr iPhone app also shows how many individual and team check-ins a venue has. Anyone can create its own group, and the possibility to create and add venues via Map.pr is being added in the next coming update. Until now, it’s only been possible to check-in to already existing venues.

There’s no native Android app on the roadmap, instead an updated mobile web version with check-in functionality is round the corner. Check-ins with Facebook Places, which hasn’t reached Nordics yet, aren’t yet allowed by Facebook API, but instead Map.pr is about to integrate with new Facebook Groups, released earlier this week with both privacy blunders as upsides, to let you share check-ins within a group, private or open. As before, one can share check-ins to both Facebook and Twitter. Gowalla users have, for now, been left out of the service.

Map.pr White Label To Boost Businesses’ Customer Engagement

Cartomapic, the startup behind Map.pr, was founded early 2010 by a team with backgrounds in Google Maps and Spotify, surely qualifing regarding domain competence within location and app design. But, as all social check-in services, they’re about understanding and triggering human behaviour. Since grouping and categorizing venues as function isn’t considered a long term competitive advantage, Map.pr needs to do something else differently. One way is to monetize by competing with a more attractive price model on partnerships than its established competitors. It also plans to offer its solution as a white label, letting businesses create their own branded check-in services around events, releases etc. I find the idea of focusing on aggregating check-ins and information from several location based services, e.g. like Buzzd does with hottest venues nearby right now, compelling. By also aggregating check-in info into a comprehensive recommendation system for groups, I could see how Map.pr just might find its way to the end of the rainbow.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn,
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

By Julie Blaustein

Geolocational services are everywhere. Its in our smart phones, our cars and in our pictures. So why is there so much interest in it now and where is it going? The Ge- Loco Conference tackled the next big thing in advertising, social media and discovery at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 21st. Part of the reason for such interest now is its potential market in mobile advertising, as according to BIA/Kelsy Group, its expected to grow in the U.S. from $320 million in 2009 to $3.1 billion in 2013. That explains why all the buzz for FourSquare that has only 2.1 million users compared to others such as Facebook with 500 million users, Twitter with 190 million users and Yelp with 30 million users.

The conference started out with Robert Scoble‘s opening remarks. What better authority than Scoble who is the uber consumer user of location based services (LBS) and devices to aid him in both his personal life to find a descent places to eat and for his jet setting around the world for business. He then joined the first panel, The Future of Location Based Services. By 2014 all on the panel agreed that any user generated content will be automatically Geo-Tagged. Privacy is still the biggest issue, contributing major and justified concerns regarding stalking. Michael Liebhold of the Institute for the Future pointed out that facial recognition will be the most feared of all privacy concerns. On a brighter note, all agreed LBS is seen as enabling and fostering better communications among individuals and communities.

Fred Wilson

VC Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, provided the Keynote where he stated the two biggest issues with LBS – Privacy and  Monetization. What gets him pumped? Applications that create lots of data that gets shared with millions of people such as maps – a utility where massive amounts of date are stored in the cloud. Wilson later had an interesting and entertaining “fire side” chat with John Battelle of Federated Media. Playing word association, Battelle asked Wilson to share what comes to mind when he mentions the following: Research in Motion = Not Good, Facebook = Juggernaut, Gowalla = Its tough being second fiddle, HP = Great Company, HP Palm = Great Acquisition, Microsoft = Dinosaur, Apple = Evil (laughter and applause from audience), Boxee = Promise, Google = Challenged.

Panelists Shoes

The issues of Privacy and Monetization were discussed in depth, but certainly not solved during the conference. This conference is just the starting point. There were a number of  industry leaders in attendance along with those that were tweeting or listening in that provided some insight into where things are going in the future. A number of additional issues were discussed and links were shared at the hashtag #geoloco, which is also a great transcript of the conference whether you were there or not. If you were there, its a great place to share your expertise, provide links and other thoughts to the conversation. And, as a result, you become more visible, gaining more followers on Twitter and in the industry. Sharon Lin, Senior Marketing Manager at Jumio, did a fantastic job keeping up with the fast talking panelists, acting as a moderator of the #geoloco stream. Its also interesting to note the many tools used to tweet. Most tweets were generated from Hootsuite and Tweetdeck but others included Seesmic, TweetGrid, TweetCaster, UberTwitter, Echofon, Brizzly. At times the discussion started to get a bit snarky, commenting about how the panelists were dressed. I started noticing what shoes panelists were wearing. Can you match up the speaker to the shoes in the photo? Let me know if you do @julierb.

To the event organizers, Mark Evans, Diane Bisgeier and to the many volunteers, congratulations on a well run and thought provoking meeting of the minds in Geo Locaion. If you missed it, become part of the conversation at #geoloco or check out Justin TV’s livestream of the Geo Loco Conference. You can also check out more photos of the panelists here.


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