Potential of location based services
Its almost paradoxical that the internet, that helped in making the world a smaller place has local as its next major focus area, but there has been a spate of activity in the local internet space in the last year which seems to suggest so. While this space has seen a lot of new services coming up, even the established players are trying to a get a piece of the local pie.
One of the most talked about startup of last year was foursquare. It is a hybrid between a social game and a city guide. You discover interesting places in your city and share it with your friends. It adds the gaming aspect by awarding you points and badges for going to your favorite hangout spots. It already has the early adopters hooked and bloggers like robert scoble, techcrunch and mashable vouching for it. Initially it was limited to some cities but very recently they removed this restriction. Although they do not have a business model as of yet,they already are encouraging interesting discussions about how they can monetize their service. Very similar in the mode of foursquare are other apps like gowalla and mytown. Another app with more focus on the social than the gaming part is Loopt.
Even some of the established players are venturing into this space. Twitter announced last november that tweets can now be geo-tagged, which will allow people to know where you tweeted from. Google launched their Google Latitude service which allows you to share with your friends where you are. There is also another interesting service called Glympse which is competing with Goggle Latitude in this space. Also the portals like msn, yahoo and aol also have turned their attentions towards getting a bigger share of the local advertising share.
Turning our attentions closer to India, while they may not be apps or truly internet based services, I personally think JustDial is doing a very good job of solving the problem of a local business listing in India. They have very cleverly used the intersection of phone,sms and internet to make giant strides and are an indispensable service for me.
What i would love to have though is a service which gives me a good listing of the events happening around me. Do you have an idea for a location based service that you would like to bring to life ? Tell us about it.