- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
At SXSW, apps buzz is location, location, location
Davison is founder and CEO of the location-based social network startup Highlight, one of the most talked-about apps at the South By Southwest Interactive Conference. SXSW has helped launch Twitter and Foursquare, and at this year’s gathering, no topic is more buzzed about than location-based social network apps, like Glancee, Ban.jo, Sonar, Intro, Kismet and others.
Walk into many panel discussions at SXSW, and you’ll hear someone saying such services, known as social discovery apps, are the future. Davison, an earnest and exuberant 32-year-old California native, thinks so. He sees wasteful social randomness everywhere _ in finding friends, future spouses and co-workers.
“The way that we find these people and learn about these people is, and always has been, horribly random and inefficient,” exclaims Davison, marveling at centuries of missed opportunities. “We don’t realize how bad it is because it’s always been that way, and we just accept it.”
There are variations to these location-based social networks, but the basic premise is to link a profile and connections of a social network like Facebook, with the locations logged in mobile phones.
Davison describes reality as a boring, “bizarre version of Facebook where every profile is just a single photo” and provides no information about its users. The information we put online about ourselves, Davison would like to attach to our physical selves.
But do we really want to know more about each other?
Location has been a part of networks, like Foursquare, that is centered on a user checking in at a place such as a bar or a restaurant. Most of these new apps, which all launched recently and are in a nascent stage of usage, track ambient locations with permission and don’t require constant action.
Such apps passively monitor location, running in your smart phone’s background (and therefore using precious battery life) and sending notifications when Facebook connections are nearby. Different apps weigh connection differently, but they pull from factors like interests, life history and similar friends.
Privacy concerns will be a major factor in the popularity of social discovery. Many are wary of distributing their location to the wrong people, and stalking concerns will surely keep others away.
Glancee founder Andrea Vaccari said finding the right balance of public and private information will be the key element that separates one app from the pack. Glancee doesn’t display exact locations but uses approximate locators, like “10 miles away.”
At SXSW, the frenzy of the location-based networking apps almost felt like a reality TV competition, with some dozen startups fighting to be the darling of the conference. Vaccari says a longer-term perspective is necessary for the widespread use of such a new technology, and he’s focused more on having Glancee catch on in cities besides New York and San Francisco.
“Our belief is that what we think of as serendipity _ the occasional encounter where both people share something really important to them in common _ it’s not as rare as we think it is,” says Vaccari. “We want to change that.”
Ban.jo has been around longer than some startups and has, it says, a larger network of users than all the new apps combined. It pulls connections from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and others, and relies on public check-ins, rather than exposing user location.
Damien Patton founded Ban.jo after a missed connection of a nearby friend at an airport.
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow