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When location merges with real time search

Posted on 5.23.2010

One of the most talked about areas of the internet in 2010 has been about location applications. Websites such as Foursquare, Gowalla, & Booyah allow users to check-in to a location as a way to alert their network to the place they are at right now. Location technologies took on added significance when Facebook recently announced a plan to allow its users to check-in to places such as McDonald’s as a way to earn rewards. The valuation of these companies continue to soar as highlighted by Foursquare’s much maligned decision to turn down a rumored $100 million acquisition offer from Yahoo.

These location technologies are primed for continued growth as more and more of the web migrates toward mobile devices. When users are at a given location, it will be easy and smooth for them to check-in and also see where their friends and colleagues are currently checked-in to. In the past, people would go to sites such as Yelp to comment and rank a location as a way to give feedback to others. These days, people simply vote with the their feet, and the hottest venues right now will see increases in their check-ins.

The local business play with these technologies has tremendous potential. A store can more easily identify, track and communicate with specific users that frequently visit their store. Businesses can also incentivize users to come back again via offering rewards to people who check-in frequently over a given period of time. In addition, businesses can see whom the mayor of their store is – and they can then attempt to further empower the person who visits their establishment the most.

For all of these reasons, location based technologies are here to stay and they will have continued growth and adoption moving forward. However, these technologies are new and they have several holes – a lot of which are beginning to get filled by real time search engines.

To date, real time search engines have been primarily focused on displaying real time data from status updates, comments, and blogs. This way, users could quickly see what people are saying this instant about any given subject. Real time search engines have also worked to analyze the links posted on the real time web to identify which links and topics are trending right now. Real time search continues to grow as more and more users discover the benefits of using real time search and learn which types of searches it can provide the greatest value for.

In the future, through adding location technology and filtering to a real time search engine, the industry will become even more powerful. Our website, Sency, recently launched Sency for Cities, allowing users to search what people are talking about right now inside of 13 major US cities and London.

When you add in location to real time search, the information becomes a lot more defined. For example, a Philadelphia Phillies fan can see what fans are saying right now about the Phillies in the city of Philadelphia. During the recent controversial Arizona law passage, a real time search for Arizona law at different cities would allow you to get a window into how the public sentiment differs from city to city. Businesses, can use real time location search as a way to get free instant market research, broken down by city, on a new product launch. When a new movie comes out, anyone in real time is able to see how people in Los Angeles respond to the movie as compared with people from New York City or London.

This added capability of real time search adds a new level of intrigue. And, as more and more smart phone users enable Geotagging on their status updates and comments – real time search engines will soon be able to show users what’s being said right now at specific places in a given city such as LAX Airport or Wrigley Field. Through seeing what’s being said right now in a given place, real time data can become even more useful and interesting. Furthermore, another mainstay advantage of real time search is that it opens up the data to the public. If you aren’t a user of any social network or location based service – you can still use real time search as a tool to get the information you are looking for.

Twitter has over 55 million status updates published each day and at the recent Chirp conference in April, Twitter confirmed that an increasing proportion of users are Geotagging these updates. As the data pool widens, you can expect to see even more innovation which combines location and real time search into one.


About the Author: Evan Britton is the Founder of Sency, a real-time search engine.

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