Saturday, March 17, 2012

How Location-based Services Have Evolved From Novelty to Necessity.

There has been a fascination with location-based services (LBS) that has saturated the industry for a  couple of years. After seeing countless LBS start-ups make their way into the spotlight, most people in the marketing, advertising and technology worlds seemed to think they understood the category and that it was time to move on to the next thing.

They couldn’t be more wrong. LBS check-ins are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how location information can be harnessed to enhance people’s lives.

The Next Wave of LBS

Facebook seems to know this. The social media juggernaut evolved their Places platform, which allowed Facebook users to check-in to restaurants, businesses and other locations, turning it into a feature set that is now integrated with their photo, status, event and other tools. So instead of just “checking in” to say “look where I am”, users enhance content they are already providing by adding location information to it.

The other problem is that Foursquare diverted everyone’s attention to “gamification” and industry folks focused on it as one of the big takeaways from Foursquare’s success. Greg Steen believes Foursquare is the poster child for poorly designed gamification, but you can read about that in Greg's article on the topic from last year.

He believes that the pertinent issue is that the most important part of the service has been somewhat overlooked - read more of his views here.

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