Skip to content

Why geolocation is the next big thing?

May 25, 2011

Internet evolves by decade: the 90’s were the time of retail websites and search engines, and the 00’s of Social Media. Everybody is now looking for the next big thing of the 10’s, hoping to become respectively the next Ebay, Google or Facebook. And trends seem to confirm that geolocation might be the next decade’s big thing...

Since its creation in 2009, everybody is watching closely a small start-up which is getting more and more popular: Foursquare. Based on the basic idea of “checking-in” at your location, it allows the user to connect with friends, exchange tips about the place, get badges or become a virtual mayor of a city or area (?). The start-up has gained about 7 million users worldwide, and is steadily expanding, thanks to some Hollywood stars starting using it. The benefits are not quite obvious, but the idea is out. Facebook is also following the trend, launching a similar service on its platform, called Facebook Places.

Geolocation is the natural evolution of both the social media and smartphone trends combined altogether. Or when the need to be connected to the world meets the always-moving new generation. People have been lately developing the willingness not only to simply connect to friends, but connect to friends who are next to them. Internet is not a “fixed” place anymore, as defined by sitting at their desktop, but a moving one, thanks to tablets and smartphones.

Benefits from such a technology are huge. It allows the user to interact with the world around them. It makes life easy in basic day-to-day activities, such as research (where is the closest movie theater in the area?), getting recommendation on-the-go (is that restaurant any good?), or connection (where are my friends?). But it also helps to develop new opportunities: apartment hunting, local dating, or even to raise money for charities.

Benefits are also blow-minding for business. Well first of all, geolocation acts as a gap between the virtual form of the business on the internet, and its “physical” presence in the real world. As most of people base their shopping decision on a online research – what are the products proposed by that brand? Are they in stock? – it became essential for businesses to be easily “findable” by the customers. This is thus the purpose of Google Place for Business, or for example in a smarter way, the Subway Store Locator App. Second, as Facebook allows companies to market according to demographic and interest criteria, geolocation allows them to market according to proximity with potential customers. Thus, when people pass by a shop, this latest can “hook” them on their smartphones, providing discount or coupon to encourage a visit to the store.

Nonetheless, the only difficulty will be a legal one. As the Apple case showed lately, people are willing to protect their privacy, and are not really into sharing their location with anybody. The right start-up will have to find the proper balance between privacy of users and the sharing of information with businesses in order to monetize their software. Sounds Familiar?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: