Why GPS-based smart apps failed to go viral at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) conferences have given geeks a lot of social inroads over the last few years. They brought us blogging, then microblogging; they were a launchpad for Twitter and Foursquare. Thanks to those web services, meeting at SXSW IRL (In Real Life) turned the geeks hiding behind glowing screens into “friends”.

LevelUp makes redeeming check-in rewards easier with American Express

LevelUp, a pilot in the local deals space created by check-in app Scvngr, today announced a partnership with American Express to give users the ability to redeem deals with their credit cards, eliminating the need for printed coupons or showing your phone at the point of sale.

Qubulus: Indoor positioning is here whether you like it or not

Like many people I have an addiction to Google Maps on my phone, so a world where GPS capabilities can follow me indoors has me curious. Qubulus makes accurate indoor positioning possible with its Qubulus Positioning System (QPS).

PhoneTag app promises to keep social media meet-ups private

Smartphone app startup Ripple Mobile today debuted its PhoneTag application, which uses GPS-based technology to help mobile device users share a user’s real-time location and coordinate connections privately with their friends and contacts.

Foursquare 3.0 will recommend where to check in

Foursquare, the hot location-based check-in startup, today announced on its blog that it will be releasing Foursquare 3.0 later today for Android and iPhone. The new version comes with several feature updates, but probably the most notable is the much-rumored recommendation engine.

Find out where to meet friends with Echoecho

Everyone has been in that situation — stuck in a back-and-forth texting war with a friend deciding where to meet for coffee or lunch. It can be a bit of a hassle.

Google Latitude gives 10 million users check-in power

Google may have just made its big move in the location-based services space. According to the company’s mobile blog, it has launched Google Maps 5.1 for Android and included the ability to check in to specific locations with Latitude, its feature for sharing your location with friends.

Foursquare fights fake friends

Popular check-in application Foursquare is facing a problem that has long bedeviled social networks — spurious friend requests. And it’s dealing with violators by putting a cap on them.

What can we expect from Foursquare’s new app?

According to a recent Foursquare post on Twitter, the company just had the next version of its iPhone application approved by Apple. (The post thanked “SantaJobs,” apparently a reference to Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs.)

Forrester reveals who uses location-based services the most

While only 4 percent of US online adults have ever used a location-based service, like popular check in app Foursquare, data from research firm Forrester shows that young adult males with college degrees appear to be the main user group.

Business-networking app Unsocial gets new leadership

The guys over at Unsocial, a mobile app that helps people find business connections in a nearby geographic area, have certainly kept themselves busy. Since launching at VentureBeat’s DiscoveryBeat conference just a few weeks ago, Unsocial has added a new CEO, executive vice president and 10,000 users — just in time to return as the official conference app of GreenBeat 2010.

NBA to launch Turnstile check-in app for games

The National Basketball League (NBA) may be looking to take advantage of the growing popularity of consumers checking-in to locations through its own application dubbed Turnstile, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Loopt brings users closer to Facebook friends

Loopt, an early leader in location-based services, today announced it has integrated Facebook Places into its mobile check-in application. The application is available for iPhone and iPod touch.

Placecast and O2 bring location-based ads to 1M UK residents

Location-based advertising doesn’t seem to have reached a mass audience yet, but things may be changing. San Francisco startup Placecast just announced a deal that should bring its location-based ads to 1 million new users.

Houston, we’ve got check-ins: Gowalla and NASA team up

Popular mobile check-in game Gowalla announced a partnership today with government space agency NASA. While a mobile game and a space agency might not be the most likely of pairs, the two have joined forces to offer a country-wide scavenger hunt for virtual items, including moon rocks, NASA patches, spacesuits and space shuttles.

Snap a wine label to find where to buy that wine

Snooth just launched an iPhone application which uses image recognition to do something genuinely useful (as least to me). If you take a picture of a wine label, Snooth finds the stores closest to you that stock that wine and the prices in each store. You can also read reviews of the wine and find similar bottles by winery, region or varietal.

Location Labs gets info on 15 million local businesses from CityGrid Media

Location Labs, a company that helps developers create location-based mobile applications, today announced a partnership with CityGrid Media, a subsidiary of Web giant  IAC and supplier of local content and advertising to other sites. The partnership will give Location Labs access to information on more than 15 million local businesses.

Loopt hires mobile veteran to reclaim the location crown

Loopt, an early leader in location-based social services, just announced that mobile industry veteran Steve Boom (pictured left) is joining the company as its first president. Boom will lead the Mountain View, Calif. startup with cofounder Sam Altman (pictured right), who continues to serve as chief executive.

Foursquare still alive and kicking after Facebook tries to steal its thunder

Foursquare has hit 3 million users for its location-based social network. Facebook  launched a rival location service, Facebook Places, in mid-August. But that apparently hasn’t lessened interest in Foursquare’s service, as some had feared. Foursquare’s growth is still accelerating, the numbers show.

deCarta gets $6.2M for location-based platform

deCarta, maker of geospatial software for location-based apps, has raised $6.2 million of an expected $10.2 million in a fourth round of funding, according to a filing with the SEC. The San Jose-based company develops a platform that powers local search and mapping apps. The funding comes at the end of a busy week for location-based services, including the launch of location check-in feature Facebook Places and Facebook’s acquisition of location-based startup Hot Potato. deCarta last raised a $35 million round in 2008 from investors including Norwest Venture Partners, T-Mobile Venture Fund, TransLink Capital, Mobius Venture Capital and Cardinal Venture Capital.

Booyah builds a new location app for Facebook Places in three weeks (video)

Keith Lee, chief executive of location-based game company Booyah, said today that his team built its new Facebook Places location app — InCrowd — in just three weeks. The app lets users interact with friends and share posts in real-time in real-world locations.

Gowalla says it will build on, not compete with, Facebook Places (video)

Scott Raymond is the chief technology officer and co-founder of Gowalla, a location-based entertainment firm. His company is one of the partners that is launching a new app for Facebook’s new location service, Facebook Places, which Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed this evening.

Facebook’s Chris Cox explains why Places is ‘dope’

Facebook concluded the unveiling of its new Places location check-in feature today with a speech from vice president of product Chris Cox (pictured here at another event) that was either inspiring or cheesy, depending on how charitable you were. Either way, it hinted at the bigger vision that company executives have for the product.