Last post I mentioned the various geolocation apps out there. Come to find out this interesting concept has opened up a niche market. More and more companies are feeding off this trend with innovative ideas like automatic Foursquare check-in by Checkmate and Future Checkin that function through background-running location info on iPhones. Another iPhone-centric app, MessageParty, combines chat rooms with the geolocation model, where users can create public parties that are location-aware. In other words, you can choose to chat with anyone that is logged on near your area.
Similar to MessageParty is Qilroy (“kill-roy”), an app that peruses your social networks for location-based status updates, allowing you to filter for specific events or places, and then reply directly to people with corresponding mentions. Dialogue can then continue as a Qilroy thread.
If the whole publicly-broadcasting-your-whereabouts-thing is a turn off for you, see Qualcomm’s Neer for the Android and soon-to-be-released version for iPhones. This location app is suited for the private-type, and allows for automatic location sharing among trusted friends, family, and spouses within your native contact list. It even smart enough to look through your call/text behavior to suggest members for your “inner circle.”
A recent AdAge article brought to light the two different types of “check-in app” users: hyperactive and hyperpassive. It went on to elaborate on geolocation apps that appeal to hyperpassive users specifically. First, there’s Xtify, one of a handful of apps that uses geolocation to deliver sales promotions and discounts. ShopAlert is a similar service that also incorporates alerts by social media, SMS, and other means. Shopkick is a contender as well, providing “kickbucks” for consumers who enter different stores.
It really comes down to the level of commitment and customization the user is looking for. I predict, just as what happened with Twitter, that the bigger names in Geolocation (Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR) will start picking up on ways to expand their services based on what the ‘little guys’ are doing to maintain market share. We’ve already seen the beginning; Foursquare recently announced the new ability to see when you’ll become mayor of a location, an app that third-party WhenWillIbeMayor.com had spearheaded.