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Published on April 17th, 2010 | by Babar Bhatti


Mobile 2.0 and Location Based Services

Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whirrl, BrightKite, Google … all of these location based services (LBS) have created buzz but mainstream users are still not convinced that they need to a) share their information and b) there is enough value  to use these.  Recently there has been a change in the way these services present themselves. Instead of just another mobile app which sits on your phone, Gowalla and foursquare have taken a social, game based approach where they give badges to their users for activities. The thinking is that using a combination of check-ins (where users tell the app where they are) and gaming features, it will make location sharing more interesting. Behind the scenes, there are big business objectives for these mobile social apps which are an important part of Mobile 2.0 suite of services.

There are analysts who think that Facebook and Twitter will be the big players in LBS and they can kill all of the competition easily because of their scale. Twitter has been putting a big emphasis on location, even on their web client. Mobile users are considerably more active and many of them share their exact location with tweets. We have been hearing rumors that Facebook will start adding more of location info in all status updates.

LBS is a major component of Mobile 2.o but its adoption outside of developed countries is probably not going to be fast. By itself it may not matter much. The trick will be to integrate these services with something which is of direct value to the ARPU sensitive consumer. The big question is: Can it be done in next 1-2 years?


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