Geo-location apps targeting businesses and professionals are fighting hammer and tong to distance themselves from failures in the consumer arena, and to prove that they can offer privacy.
After a year of gaffes, idiocies and downright vile crimes committed by people wielding geo-location apps, the market for such software seems ready to address privacy concerns.
The makers of some geo-location apps, dependent on heavy adoption and personal privacy have been fighting to scrub the dirt off location products, and it hasn't been easy. But they do so in the face of services that have tainted the niche.
There's been a public backlash against Girls Around Me, Highlight and Skout -- so-called creeper apps. These apps are used to pinpoint people, usually women, in a way that some say encourages stalking.
One app aimed at a higher road is Here On Biz
. It's a LinkedIn check-in app for professionals, allowing people to network while traveling for work.
The free iPhone app shows people nearby based on their professional practice and interest. The app shares their general location, in a list instead of a map. The generalities are a reaction to creeper apps.
"We want the right clientele, We want the right people," said Nick Smoot, chief marketer of Here On Biz. Smoot defined the "right people" as business professionals. Senior executives from Barclays, Visa and American Express are already members, he said.
"Anybody who wants to show their location on a map to strangers is not the right person for us," Smoot said.
Another like-minded social geo-location app, GonnaBe, is billed as the platform for what's going to happen next. It addresses the creep factor by keeping people's locations private, and by marketing to people who already know each other.
Less business-oriented, and more social, the app helps people post, share and browse friends' social plans for free, without downloads, sign ups or profiles. Plans can be broadcast across a person's social networks or only with selected friends who also use GonnaBe.
If startups like these make it big, they could lead the way for the next generation of privacy-conscious geo-location apps. But that's a big if.