While Twitter and Facebook were grabbing all kinds of headlines for much of 2009 a bit of a phenomenon was developing as an off-shoot of both: location based social networking. Now, I have written about this a little in assorted contexts–I am talking about products like Foursquare, Gowalla and others like Loopt and CauseWorld. Each is slightly different-CauseWorld being the most distinct- but all have some basic core functionality.
Each of those listed (and a bunch of others I have not listed) leverage social networks and location–and give users a chance to do real time meetings. This location based social networking has become an early buzz for 2010–but the technology is nothing new and its kind of a natural extension of all those Twitter or Facebook updates.
Foursquare (NYC based) is kind of game where users check in and become mayors etc. It has a business opportunity to allow game players to get discounts etc at local stores and more. Over at Gowalla you don’t become the mayor of any place, but you accumulate and trade assorted items like avocados, coffee makers and slices of pizza (all virtually) that you can leave and trade at each location.
The others are somewhere in between–with the over-riding concept being that its more than sharing status; it’s about sharing location.
I was a little amazed a couple of weeks ago when I updated my FourSquare that I was at a Starbucks not far from my office. Low and behold, a friend was in the area and stopped in for an impromptu cup of coffee. It’s where my status (and at the time I was the mayor of the Starbucks, although I don’t think the barrister knew it based on the service provided) meets the real world.
So here’s to seeing many of you in 2010 now that I not only know what you are up to, but where.
Can you see me now?