is slated to appear today in the BlackBerry AppWorld where you can also download it for free. This is an application that makes it easy to read (and see) what is going on around you and it draws liberally from services like Citysearch, Last.fm, TimeOut, MetroMix and Flavorpill for descriptions of different establishments such as restaurants and clubs. The premise on the surface is simple. The application uses the built-in GPS or CellID to figure out where you are. Then you locate what your “friends” are doing and which locations are hot. Sounds great. Assuming you’re a 19 something bar hopper. In practice I think there are several issues with all location based services — including buzzd.
See any problem with the search I did below?
There are two issues:
First, Max Amore is a great Italian Restaurant near my house. It’s not a Starbucks.
Second, the second search result is for a Starbucks located across the river from my house instead of the one around the block.
These location services aren’t new. For people to be interested the results must be up to the minute accurate. Because if they’re not – wouldn’t a simple Google Mobile search be better?
However the bigger issue in my opinion with all location based services is that to be really useful all your friends have to be using them.
I’m not sure about you but getting a significant group of people to adopt any technology service is a huge task. Maybe these type of services work well in college towns where friends want to meet up to drink after classes – but I doubt it.
I’ve tried other location services (BrightKite) in major cities such as New York and come away with the distinct impression that they’re really the worlds largest collection of early adopters who try the service once and then never (or sporadically) go back to it.
Also, I’m becoming less and less a fan of creating a new profile (as buzzd requires) each and every time I want to share information with friends. Granted buzzd will let you pull in your Facebook profile information to make the task a little quicker. Which started me thinking about how I really would rather share information with my Facebook friends rather than some anonymous groups on on a location based service whose recommendations I may question.
Nearly the entire premise of location based services is that you can signify whether the location you are at is good or bad. Here buzzd helps those with limited command of English with two checkboxes – either Thrill or Kill as a shortcut to rate the places they’re at. These are hardly ratings that would compel me to visit or avoid a restaurant or pub.
Sure people could use the long form and type out reviews. However I’ve seen other similar location based services and most of the online reviews are terse one liners that seems to have been tapped out by folks with one word vocabularies. In other words they didn’t tell me much of anything.
What buzzd does really well is locate you based on either GPS or CellID. It always found my location quickly and without any problem.
The interface is nice and uncluttered and it was pretty snappy in navigation. Will it succeed long term? To do so it needs to be more accurate and have a group of your friends actively using the service and making recommendations. The first issue (accuracy) should be correctable. I’m not so sure about the second because what I term “profile fatigue” could set it and as the newness of social networking wears off there may be a hesitancy by your friends to join yet another social-network-location-based-enter-more-details-about-your-self site.
What I Like:
Fast GPS or CellID location capability
What Needs Improvement:
Need to have friends using it or what’s the point?