The Hotlist is going mobile. The service, a trend-tracker that connects users with upcoming events in the area and across their social networks, is now available as an iPhone application.
Although location-based social networking (LBS) apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Brightkite and Loopt may be all the rage right now - in terms of media hype at least - reports have shown that only a relatively small handful of early adopters are actively using these apps on a regular basis (a few hundred thousand up to 4 million, depending on the service).
Instead of tapping into the niche market of LBS users to find local hotspots, The Hotlist figured out a different way to surface these so-called "geo-trends": by tapping into Facebook and Twitter instead. The service analyzes public events and other data across social networks in order to offer a personalized "things to do" application. But up until today, that app was Web-only.
No Check-In Required
The Hotlist, launched in September 2009, digs through real-time updates on Twitter and aggregates location-specific data from it, Facebook, Google and Yelp to calculate what specific events are popular based on your network of friends and your "friends of friends."
Unlike LBS apps, which require you to announce your current location by way of a GPS-matched "check-in," a feature which worries some privacy advocates, the Hotlist looks at where people plan on going by way of Facebook Events and other non-GPS sources. It also respects the Facebook privacy settings you already have in place. "Nobody will know where you are unless you want them to," explains the site's FAQ.
In May of this year, The Hotlist received $800,000 in angel financing, funds from which the social aggregation startup used to launch the new mobile application. The iPhone app is first to arrive, but apps for Android and Blackberry will soon follow.
Local Trends via your iPhone
With the new Hotlist mobile application, users can see which spots their social networking friends have visited in the past, which ones are popular now and which ones friends plan on visiting in the future. It displays the venues closest to your location - a handy feature to have on a mobile app. It even provides venue details like friend attendance, photos, real-time Twitter updates and the guy-to-girl ratio.
In addition to tapping into your own personal social networking friend lists, The Hotlist also offers the social activities of over 100 million people worldwide, all based on public data.
Currently The Hotlist has only around 160,000 users, reports the company. However, unlike its LBS competitors, the app doesn't need to obtain critical mass in order to provide relevant data. Instead, The Hotlist uses data from networks that have it to spare in large quantities - most notably, the data from Facebook's 500 million users and Twitter's 100 million users.
You can download The Hotlist iPhone app from here. A Facebook account is required to use it.