In days of long standing, social networking websites likes Twitter and Facebook have been garnered as a new type of networking known as geo-social networking which in turn has gone social. Keeping in mind the augmented popularity of smart devices consisting of various positioning components, countless Geo-social networks have entered our lives. A few of them like Foursquare, Google Latitude and Facebook Places already have millions of users following them. Their network is such that they provide the users with the ability to link content along with the geographic locations. Further, any location reported by the user is used to provide various location based services like geo-tagging and track-a-friend option.
Geo-social networks are the result of a relatively new research that is still taking shape. With sites like “Foursquare” and “Gowalla” which have already incorporated the geo-location feature in their websites, one needs to ensure that the feature is useful to the users without mishandling their personal information.
Need for Geo-social network
The geo-social services have started to alter the very temperament of social networks. Geographical relevance plays an important role in our day to day life. It helps people stay rooted in today’s world by creating an opportunity for the users to know about various tourist places, historic locations and urban areas. Proximity is no more the essential key for socialization. The geo-social networks can automatically link any user based information with a desired location by providing features like location sharing.
Today, a host of mobile apps and networking sites have come up with services that are based on the geographic location of the users. They also provide suggestions of one’s favourite places in an area like forthcoming events, good restaurants or nearby tourist attractions. These sites also notify people when there is an upcoming sale, promotions or cultural activities as a part of their marketing pitch. The social network providers use the geo-social networks to deliver adds to the users that are specific to their location and nature of use.
The geo-social networks have also been developed with the idea of helping users to find their friends, track people and locate them when needed. It has made socializing much easier by helping you locate your friends by displaying their present locations through a map so that you could meet them up whenever you want.
Geo-social networking through social media
Geo-social networking has already set a benchmark for its millions users who like to stay connected with their social circles through its location sharing options. Let us consider a few of the leading social networking websites that have found their way to interact with millions of mobile customers using their services.
With as many as 3 million users in its kitty, Foursquare currently has allowed the geo-location sharing option. People can now share where they are, what are they eating, where to go, etc. It also has come up with an interesting feature of allowing check-ins through which users can post the place where they are such as restaurants, hotels, clubs, lounges, etc. And the more you visit a place, more are the points you get which later can be converted into gift coupons. This is basically a business promotion strategy which is quite common these days.
It is another geo-social app with around 0.4 million users following it every day. Just like other apps, Gowalla also allows you to compete with people for gift coupons or discounts. You can tell others about a hotel, restaurant or food that you eat through this app. The Gowalla essentially has a tie-up with your city guide to provide you the best knowledge about a place.
A few major ones like Facebook and Twitter have nearly 500 million and 114 million users respectively. Sites like Skype top the chart with an average 590 million users that it connects. Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Gmail and MySpace comes next with 360, 284, 173 and 126 million users respectively. Brightkite and Google latitude have 3 million users each, registered under them. A business oriented website such as LinkedIn has a whooping figure of 60 million users that are actively involved within its network.
These geo-social websites are doing their best to serve their customers with the best services they can.