I love mobile social networks! More specifically, I love Brightkite. With Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, and Google’s latest introduction into location-based applications (Google Latitude), it’s pretty obvious that mobile social networking is slowing but surely gaining a lot more market penetration.
- Will these services take off?
- Will mainstream catch on?
- Will they be useful to even you?
Here are three reasons why I think location-based apps and services are becoming more important for the average mobile consumer.
Everyone’s going mobile
Who doesn’t have a mobile phone? Better yet, who doesn’t own a smartphone let alone the iPhone? In this day and age, consumers are upgrading their knowledge of technology in order to take full advantage of the great smartphones and PDAs available at reasonable prices. A lot of these people, especially the youth, are accessing the web, more specifically social networks at any moment they can. I smell a serious market for location-based applications.
People love to network
Brightkite is the only location-based service that I use. However, there plenty of options out there as mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. The main reason I use Brightkite is because I want to network with people in my city. And who doesn’t love networking? Isn’t that one of the main points of location-based services anyway?
Location-based services can fuel and fill the void of finding local people to network with while consumers are out in about. It’s not just about our personal network of friends anymore. People want to grow outside that circle and their city is the first place that they’ll start.
With money becoming tight around households it’s no surprise that people may be spending less time traveling from city to city and more time exploring the options available in their own city thanks to the “recession”.
This is great for location-based services. In fact, this is the perfect moment for those services to address a huge problem plaguing mobile social networks: updating their directory for smaller cities! With people venturing out more in their own city, they’re more likely to use location-awareness services to find new events and venues to explore. These users will also be more than willing to help update your database of events, venues, and reviews.