Home Beyond Latitude: 4 Innovative Location-Based Apps

Beyond Latitude: 4 Innovative Location-Based Apps

Google’s new geo-aware mobile application Latitude which lets you share your location with friends may have received all the hype, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best or the most innovative app out there. We’ve recently come across some smaller, lesser-known services that could give Google a run for their money – that is, if anyone knew they existed.

Google’s Latitude was not the first location-based service on the market by any means. Here at RWW, we’ve been fans of other mobile social networking applications like Loopt and Brightkite as well as location-aware Twitter clients like Twinkle among others. So of course when we ran across some other smaller location-based services, we had to take a look. Each of the services listed below are doing something innovative that goes beyond Google’s current offering. We just wish more people knew about them.


Bliin is a Dutch service that combines the location sharing of Google Latitude with the journey recording of Nokia’s viNe application (our coverage). With Bliin, you can explore the world around you, zooming in and out on the map while viewing geo-tagged photos, the last recorded locations of other Bliin users, and even the live movements of anyone sharing their journeys on the network. So why isn’t Bliin catching on? Blogger Martin Bryant theorizes it could be because the network doesn’t integrate with your address book the way viNe or Latitude does. It’s also a much smaller European company without the financial clout of either Google or Nokia.


Toaí (Portuguese for “I’m Around”) is actually a new social network which, at first, appears to be just like any other: you sign up, create a profile, etc. However, Toaí also asks you for your mobile phone number which it uses to text you with music, art, and stores that are near where you are. The recommendations it sends are based on you and your friends’ favorites. It also lets you know when your Toaí friends are nearby. Toaí is a great example of how a social network can add in location-based features to take networking beyond the virtual world and into the “real” world. Unfortunately, there is no English-based version of Toaí yet.

Parallel Kingdom

Who cares what your friends are doing when there are dragons to slay, enemies to fight, and weapons to upgrade? The new RPG (role-playing game) Parallel Kingdom for Android and iPhone uses location-based networking to let you see other nearby players on a Google map. Also, when finding monsters to battle, you have to physically move to a new location to do so. The end result is a mashup of traditional gaming and geocaching. (U.S. Only)


Outside.in’s new iPhone application Radar (not to be confused with the photo-sharing iPhone app also called Radar) delivers location-based content including news, blog posts, and tweets to your iPhone. Once installed, the app will geo-locate you upon being launched to deliver the news within 1000 feet of where you are standing, from your neighborhood, or from the entire city. You can also load up Radar with profiles for various locales, including your home, office, and more. Shake the app to switch from the news listings to the map view. (U.S. only)

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