Here Come The GeoWeb Wars

around meOne of the very first apps I downloaded on the iPhone was Around Me, and it’s still one of my go-to’s. It’s simple and it does exactly what the name implies – it finds your location and shows you all the critical services around you — banks, coffee shops, bars, gas stations, hospitals, movie theaters, restaurants and so on. It comes through in the clutch whenever I’m in an area that I don’t know well, which makes it an indispensable travel tool. It makes you a local expert in less than a few minutes. At a conference in a new city and want coffee? Instead of wasting time asking strangers, you’re already on your way to the Starbucks that’s around the corner, exactly 119 yards away. Need an ATM? Gas? Medication at a pharmacy? Hungry and want to know what your meal options are in a 2-3 block radius? You get the picture. The app orders the services by their proximity to you and gives you quick access to mapped directions, and touch-to-call phone info. The latest release also includes Twitter and Facebook integration so you can share the location of meeting spots or recommendations etc with your friends. Enough said. For this app alone, it’s worth moving to an iPhone.

Here’s a quick video overview of what the app does.

Expect Competition For Geolocation Services To Heat Up This Year

There have been a lot of apps like Around Me to hit mobile devices over the past 12 months. Google (of course) is the sleeping giant for geoweb services and they’ve started to release location based offerings this week that will start to challenge the space and put the squeeze on smaller players. Last week Google announced a mobile search service called “Near Me Now” that makes their mobile search page location aware, giving mobile users access to a lot of the same type of information that apps like Around Me do.

Yesterday, Google also announced Place Pages targeting local businesses, which many believe is another maneuver meant to dethrone Yelp as the de facto resource for local venue information and customer review data. We’ll see how this one plays out. You can expect a lot of me-too players to show up very soon, so it’ll be interesting to see how (if at all) Google innovates and sets the pace. As the web gets denser and geo tagging scales up to put all the data into context, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for innovation across the board, so we can only hope for startups to think way outside the box and give us all things we’ve never seen before. I know one thing – access to location information and maps on my iPhone has turned me into a heavy user of geoweb services in my daily life and I’m itching to see what’s coming. The war is on.

5 Comments

  1. Great post buddy. Nice work.

  2. I keep wondering when such applications will blend in special offers. For example, you're downtown San Diego and search on pizza, why don't the restaurants offer a 20% off coupon from within the application, seal the deal and get you to stop by for dinner. Maybe this is already being done, but I have run across it yet.

    1. This is one of the opportunities that forward thinking companies like
      Foursquare are offering (benefits and discounts for Mayors etc). Expect to
      see these kinds of offers become standard practice. Google is already giving
      businesses who use it's Place Pages the ability to update and control their
      status on the page, so it seems logical that offering deals etc is going to
      become a common use.

      http://mashable.com/2010/01/14/google-place-pag

  3. This is one of the opportunities that forward thinking companies like
    Foursquare are offering (benefits and discounts for Mayors etc). Expect to
    see these kinds of offers become standard practice. Google is already giving
    businesses who use it's Place Pages the ability to update and control their
    status on the page, so it seems logical that offering deals etc is going to
    become a common use.

    http://mashable.com/2010/01/14/google-place-pag

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