While geo-location aka Location-Based Service (LBS) apps are a fairly new category in the mobile space, it’s already hard to keep track of the dozens available and still growing. Instead of looking at each an every mobile app which has some element of geo-data, we have a quick look in the post at some of the subcategories available, a few of which we’ve already covered at SocialTimes or in some cases our sister site AllFacebook.
The following list is by no means an exhaustive one of LBS app types, only a sampling. Note that some example apps might actually fall into several categories but are only listed once.
- Social networks — E.g., Twitter, Facebook native apps on various mobile devices. While Twitter and Facebook location data is still limited at present, there is implicit information included in status updates posted. However, both companies are said to be adding more location data in the near feature.
- Social shopping — E.g., Yelp, Foursquare, MyTown, Gowalla. Found a great (or crappy) place to shop, eat, enjoy? Let others know by checking-in your location and adding a comment.
- Moodsourcing — E.g., Stuck, Pocket Life. Both of these apps not only let you check-in your location but select an icon or some pre-worded text to convey your current mood. (Pocket Life also has integration with Facebook through an app there and have its own social networking features.)
- Location-planning – E.g., Loopt Pulse, which is similar to the above social shopping apps in that you can browse for nearby venues, stores, cafes, etc., however, you don’t have to check-in. You can browse for places (e..g, a restaurant) and even see relevant pictures for a place.
- Navigation, trip tracking – E.g., Trapster, Glympse. Trapster functions as crowdsourced speed trap warning and navigation system. Glympse also lets you see real-time location trails of friends who have enabled this while taking a road trip.
- Freelancing — E.g., Field Agent, which crowdsources freelancers to complete paid tasks typically related to brand placement and pricing in stores.
- Paperless ticketing — E.g., Apple’s Concert Ticket+ system, which was recently granted a patent but could appear in the next generation of iPhone devices, rumored to be due out this summer. It’s too early to tell exactly how this system will use location data, but because of the addtional “benefits” described, it could be to create ad hoc networks and various events such as concerts or conferences.
- Ad hoc networking — E.g., Apple’s iGroups patent, also granted recently. Enabled mobile devices (e.g., iPhone) could be detected by a “master” device at an event and the owner offered the opportunity to join an ad hoc network.
As LBS apps mature, there will undoubtedly be other categories. If there any others that you know of, let us know. If you’re a BlackBerry user, check out our list of 10 locations apps for that mobile platform.