6 Geolocation Apps You May Not Have Heard About

Lynn Morton, Strategy Director

Major brands are investing serious time and serious dollars into geolocation. Whether that be Bravo or MTV on Foursquare or McDonald’s on Facebook Deals (an extension of Facebook Places).Users

Geolocation has been on the tip of tongues since Foursquare launched at SXSW 2009. Most people have probably heard of Foursquare or Facebook Places, and if you’re really up on your geolocation you’ve played around with Gowalla to earn some pins or joined a few societies on Whrrl. However, there are many players in this game, more than you may realize. Here are a few you might not have heard of yet and what makes up each service’s special sauce.

(Available for iOS and Android)

This service is all about giving you recommendations based on the places you already love. When you first sign up for Bizzy, they lead you through a series of questions to find out what are your favorite places. It will ask you things like your favorite place to get coffee, where you like to buy clothes, or somewhere you go to have a fun night out. Based on your answers and the answers of others with similar interests, Bizzy recommends new places for you to try.

To keep you engaged, every time you log in Bizzy is asking you more questions to learn about you. And that’s what makes Bizzy stand out from the crowd, the focus is on the end user and finding recommendations that are right for you. I’d also add that they have an awesome community manager that really makes a user feel like a part of the Bizzy family via (gasp!) good ole fashioned email marketing.

What makes this app awesome for businesses is that you can see where else your patrons favorite and create special partnerships across businesses.

(Available for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile)

Glympse’s niche is letting you have serious control over who sees where you are and when. They position this app as the geolocation app for business and family life. It’s not about sharing your location with the world-at-large, but letting those who need to know where you are for specific periods of time. Let’s say you’re on your way to a business meeting, you can let your coworkers or you boss know your exact location for the next 30 minutes.

Though it’s a little “big brother” for me, this app will allow businesses to see where their employees are in real time. Great for small businesses that are on the go but still need to keep in touch internally.

Neer www.neerlife.com
(Available for iOS and Android, with a web app coming soon)

Another player in geofencing, Neer targets those who want to share their location, but only with a specific subset of contacts. Everything in Neer is controlled by the end user, meaning you setup who you want to share your location with (family, friends, significant other, etc.) and you setup common locations that you visit most often (work, the grocery store, etc.), then Neer takes care of the rest by running in the background. It let’s your contacts know when you’ve arrived and when you’ve left. The thing about Neer that I find most awesome is the attachment of “To-Dos” when you arrive at a location. Attach a to-do and Neer will remind you of what you needed to do when you arrive at the location.

(Available for iOS and Android, some SMS integration)

This app takes the social gaming aspects to a new level. “Go Places. Do Challenges. Earn Points.” SCVNGR goes beyond just the normal checkin by actually rewarding patrons for earning points. Players checking in receive points for just checking in or participating in a number of user created challenges. Businesses can also set-up rewards based on earning points to keep your customers coming back time and time again.

This app is a great way to create loyalty programs by engaging your customers in fun activities that relate to your business. There is also lots of opportunity for businesses at events to create treks to engage users in the experience of attending the event.

(Available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows Mobile)

Combo geolocation and crowdsourcing, Waze gives real-time maps and traffic information, as well as rewarding users for adding to the network or taking new paths. There is even Foursquare integration (and badge to earn). Waze provides users with accident reports and cop stops, which allows drivers to find the best ways to get where they are going. You can also connect directly with other users of Waze through the application itself.

Though there isn’t a great business use for Waze, it can help you by alerting you to traffic while driving, or helping attendees at a conference navigate around.

(Available for iOS and Android [native], as well as Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 [HTML5])

Touted as “Geolocation for the Enterprise”, DoubleDutch offers branded event apps and “Mobile Resource Management” apps (again geofencing makes an appearance). What makes DD different is that ability to attach content to a certain location, including meeting agendas, handouts, etc.

They’ve found their niche in the geolocation world, really tapping into how geolocation can make your business better.

BONUS:  Colorwww.color.com
(Available for iOS and Android)

Fresh off the development line, Color burst onto the scene in a big way in March. Backed by $41M in funding (yes, you read that right, MILLION) before the app ever launched, Color has been covered by tech influencers, media outlets and skeptics alike.

So what does it do? Color uses photos you’ve taken and uploaded at a specific location to share with other Color users that are at the same location at the same time. When you leave the location, the photos leave the stream. There is great potential for an app like this at events to share the experience of users at a central location.

Surprisingly though, this app was launched AFTER the quintessential early adopter mecca, SXSW, but has some pretty successful names behind it, including Bill Nguyen (Founder of Lala, acquired by Apple in 2009), D.J Patil (former Chief Scientist at LinkedIn) and Peter Pham (formerly of Photobucket). So far the verdict is out on what the potential for this app is. There is some great thinking behind it, but bad early user experience could potentially cripple the PR moment.

Photo Credit
Lynn Morton

About the author: Lynn Morton

As Strategy Director, Lynn has a passion for strategic thinking and problem solving. She helps clients tackle their biggest challenges and make moments of connection with their target audiences. Originally a theatre maker, she brings that talent for storytelling to each of her clients, asking them – what story do we need to tell to make an impact?

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