Utilitarian Players in the Location-based Service Space - dummies

Utilitarian Players in the Location-based Service Space

By Aaron Strout, Mike Schneider, B. J. Emerson

If you are venturing into location-based marketing, it is important to know a bit about potential providers and their differentiators. The utilitarian group of applications serves some interesting niche purposes. These apps allow people to find and locate other people and places. Some even lets the user set reminders of things to do (or buy) once they arrive.

These types of apps are opportunities for you to get involved at low costs because these services aren’t clearly defined. You could help craft, and test, marketing applications to these services.

  • Glympse: Arguably one of the most useful location-based services of the bunch, this simple yet powerful app allows members to send other members and nonmembers their exact location via e-mail or text along with a short message.

    The message contains a link that allows the recipient(s) to follow the sender for a preset period of time in real time, and it includes an estimated time of arrival. The recipient can follow the sender on a map and see where they are in real time via either the web or the Glympse app.


  • Google Latitude: While Google is great at search, it has yet to crack the code on location-based services beyond one of the originals, Google Maps. Latitude works similar to Facebook Places or foursquare in that members are allowed to check in.

    On the upside, this service leverages existing Google and Gmail profile data. On the downside, the uptake on this service and the gaming elements (badges, pins, and rewards) are minimal. You can also offer rewards via Google Latitude.

  • Neer: Neer is similar to Glympse in the sense that it can share location with individuals versus wider groups of people. Neer also lets users set reminders that appear when the user has reached the designated area. For example, a user can set a reminder to buy paper towels at a specific store, and the reminder appears when the user’s GPS detects that the user is at that store.

  • Waze: If you’re familiar with General Motors’ proprietary Turn-by-Turn Navigation service offered through OnStar, you’ll immediately understand the value that Waze provides. This useful app provides turn-by-turn directions that are informed by traffic reports from other local users.

You can choose more than one. Because most of these are free, you’re risking only your time if one doesn’t work for you.