Location, location, location they tell us, is all important. Online it’s becoming increasingly pervasive with growth in smartphone take-up driving the development of location based social networks. In the UK alone there’s 11 million smartphone owners according to research outfit Comscore.
Why is it important to know your location when on the Internet? Well, if brands can tell where we are, as we are going to and from locations of interest, they can tailor their content and promotions accordingly.
Location based gaming is something the Nokia N-Gage platform (disclosure: former client) was perfectly designed for, the issue we’ve had until recently as that the technology could never quite match up with the imagination of games developers.
Geofencing is an interesting development in this area too, the possibility of creating a virtually segregated location allowing the creation of specific tools or toys for a selected area is a compelling offering that, if harnessed correctly, could be extremely useful for companies and consumers alike.
So, if you’re looking to connect with people where you are, where should you begin?
1) Foursquare — the current posterboy for location based social networking, it’s the hottest social media property right now. Foursquare’s check-ins and becoming mayor of various places are becoming synonymous with location, a key way of staying ahead of the game…and speaking of which, there’s even games being built on the Foursquare platform!
2) Brightkite — the Daddy of location, Brightkite is a stable social network that is based on a popular Twitter-like platform.
3) Gowalla — hot on the heels of Foursquare, Gowalla wants you to share where you are with images and videos, not just simply by telling people with text updates. Also you can drop and pick up virtual objects (if you wish). Very cool and could be the one to watch.
4) Koprol — Koprol has recently been acquired by Yahoo after growing in popularity in Indonesia. It could be a dark horse, if, and only if, Yahoo give it the investment it requires.
5) echoecho — perfect if you only want to let your close friends know where you are, echoecho keeps your location private — the perfect antidote to all those nasty privacy issues.
6) Yelp — a reviews based location social network, Yelp aims to provide up to date information about anything from shopping and restaurants, to nightlife and financial services, wherever you are.
7) Google Latitude — yep, even Google are in on the act, Google Latitude (which also ties in with Google Buzz on your Android mobile phone) allows you to connect to your friends using your big G user profile, pointing at you and your friends on a mobile optimised Google Map.
What other location-based social networks are you using? Which have we missed?
Zath: This was a guest post from geetarchurchy, if you liked what he had to say, be sure to check out more of his great writing over at his blog; The Seldom Seen Kid.
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