If you’re the kind of person who’s constantly writing down recommendations for restaurants, bars, and so on, a just-launched iPhone application called Matchbook can help you keep track.
I played with the app earlier today, and the interface is pretty straightforward. Whenever someone tells you about a location that you’d like to remember, you can search for it in Matchbook’s location database (which uses Foursquare’s application programming interface), bookmark it, and add tags like “Mexican” or “good beer” or “low key”. Then when you want to find it later, you just look it up in your list of bookmarks, which is organized by neighborhood.
You can also map the different locations and see tags that other users have added. And Matchbook offers a bookmarklet so that you can send locations to the app when you’re browsing the Web on your computer.
This is definitely something that I’ll find useful, since I’m constantly thinking, “What was that Thai restaurant my friend recommended yesterday?” or “There was a cool bar that I wanted to try in this neighborhood, but I can’t remember what it is.”
To get a better sense of why Matchbook sees a big opportunity here, you can check out this blog post from co-founder Jason Schwartz about the location-based services industry. Schwartz writes:
There is vast opportunity in capturing local data about the mass market that does not revolve around the check-in. Innovation in the location space will come from experimentation with value propositions other than “where are you right now?” Where do you want to go? What do you want to make plans to do? Where have you been? These are all interesting questions. What’s more, they don’t bring up the same “stalking” fears that the check-in evokes. …
Here is the pitch to the local merchant: “We have a list of 1000 users that have said that want to come to your restaurant. What would you offer to entice them to come to your restaurant tonight?” This is very different from the check-in pitch which is: “We have 1000 users that are somewhere in the area. They might be looking for a another place to go, you might be the type of place they are looking for and if so, what would you offer to entice them into your restaurant?” The second pitch is interesting, but the first one is much more concrete. We have people who want to come to your business, give them a reason to make tonight the night.
Matchbook is self-funded and based in New York City. The company plans to launch Android and BlackBerry apps soon.