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Every place has a story, and Dave Elchoness is on a mission to tell it. Or at least to let the Internet tell it.
Elchoness is the CEO of Tagwhat, a startup that strives to create a “mobile tour guide for the world.” His team is attempting to geo-tag the web, connecting content across any and all online platforms to specific places.
“Our core belief is that people are curious about the world,” Elchoness said in an interview. “Information, images, video, audio, and text reside on the web in billions of different files that have been collected over the past 20 years that are unconnected to the location where the materials could be the most meaningful, and there is no easy way to discover those stories about your surroundings.”
In an effort to bring those stories directly to those who want to hear them, Tagwhat culls information from sources like Wikipedia, FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and attaches the data to exact spots. The company also has partnerships with tourism bureaus, universities, and historical societies — but no compelling mobile delivery methods.
Users download the Tagwhat app to their phones and it delivers relevant information depending on location.
Elchoness cited the example of Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City. A tourist strolling past the famous deli could check out menu information and Yelp reviews, but also peruse content about When Harry Met Sally, since a famous scene from that movie was filmed there. The experience of the deli entails more than just their pastrami sandwich, and Tagwhat helps bring it all together.
Today, the company is announcing a new publishing tool that enables the worldwide community to help with this enormous undertaking. By embedding a Tagwhat button into their browser, similar to the “Pin It” functionality of Pinterest, users and businesses can help tether content.
Another fresh feature are push notifications, which people can use to create custom tour guides. Users can personalize their feed by selecting specific topical channels, such as art, food, and heritage. It also has a Travel Log, where users can save places they want to visit and be notified when they are near that place.
The team has been building out the database for 3 years and have tagged 900,000 stories. The app is available for iOS and Android. Tagwhat is based in Boulder, Colo.