Where Do You Check In? The Northwest’s Location-Based Search and Social Networking Mini Cluster

7/12/10

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Craigslist’s classifieds listings, and Foursquare’s location-based interactivity. Using the free iPhone application (apps for other smart phones are currently in the works), people add or search for items in 140-character mobile microlistings based on various categories such as lost and found pets, carpool, volunteer, barter, and events/gathering. Once they find what they’re looking for, the app helps parties connect virtually via instant chat, or in person using GPS geotagging to provide Google map directions.

GeoPage (Seattle, WA)

GeoPage, originally Zoodango, combines mapping and location-based search with Yelp reviews, Zagat ratings, and business data available through a partnership with Citysearch. And incorporating the social element, the mobile application developer also lets users share their own reviews and alternative rating systems that combine to help them find more comprehensive and personalized information about a specific location.

Glympse (Redmond, WA)

Unlike many location-based social networks, Glympse’s claim to fame is the protection of privacy, rather than the revelation of where you are. Instead of having to text message or call a friend to tell them you’re running late, with Glympse you select who you’d like to share your location with, and for how long, allowing them to watch your movements in real time.

Point Inside (Bellevue, WA)

There are plenty of applications available that can show you a map of the outside world—directions to the nearest Starbucks, or your Tuesday lunch meeting—on your mobile phone. The Point Inside app, however, focuses on providing indoor mapping navigation of places like malls or airports so you’re never lost, even indoors.

WhitePages (Seattle, WA)

Like many search engines, people and business search site WhitePages has gone mobile in recent years, providing its full search capabilities as mobile applications. And much like other local mapping applications, it emphasizes direction, maps, and information on nearby people and places. What makes the WhitePages app unique is the inclusion of its search database of some 200 million residences and businesses in the U.S. alone. And although the social aspect is less clear at this stage, WhitePages chief operating officer Kevin Nakao says the search site will be incorporating some optional social tie-ins to its mobile applications and services in the future.

Whrrl (Seattle, WA)

One of the popular contenders to Foursquare, and the pioneer of location-based social networks built around “checking in,” Whrrl creates a game around your daily life. Using Whrrl, a project of Seattle-based Pelago, people “check in” at various locations around town—earning points for interaction, and even more for retuning to the same places over and over again. The more you interact, the more points you earn, eventually allowing you to unlock “societies” and earn rewards from retailers. The system also allows you to connect with friends nearby, record your connections, and share status updates, pictures, and reviews.

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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