Geolocation apps.

There are apps popping up all the time, and why not? — according to the IDC, there will be 183 billion mobile app downloads by 2015. Among those gaining the most popularity are geo-location-based apps, such as Foursquare and Facebook Places.

Because my project shifted and is becoming a location based app my first step was to try and find out what is already out there. Here are some of the apps that I found and that are using your GPS to connect you with other people around you.

Facebook wants to know “What’s on your mind?” Twitter asks “What’s happening?” But that’s getting old already. The burning question for the next wave of social networking is “Where are you?”–and services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, and Loopt want you to use your smartphone to answer it.

The technology at the heart of this trend is called geolocation; and with a GPS-enabled smartphone such as the Apple iPhone, Google Nexus One, or RIM BlackBerry, you can use it to let your friends know where you are, or to find places recommended by people you know, or to check in remotely at clubs, bars, and restaurants. Regardless of privacy concerns (which I’ll look at later in this article), it looks as though nothing will stop geolocation. By Daniel Ionescu, PCWorld

So how does it work? Well, usually geolocation apps do two things. The first thing is that they report your location to other users, and second thing is that they associate real-world places to your location.

All the smartphones today have a GPS chip inside which uses the satellite data to pinpoint your exact position.

There are a lot of apps that offer geolocation services,and some of them like Foursquare, reach hundreds of thousands of users.The whole idea behind these apps is that they do not only share your location with friends but they also bring out the social gaming element. Now, let’s see some of them.

Foursquare works with iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm (WebOS) phones. If no app exists for your smartphone, you can always use the Foursquare mobile Website instead. Foursquare refers to announcing your location–and thus telling your friends where they can find you–as “checking in.”

Foursquare-webos

You can check in to cafés, bars, restaurants, parks, offices, and pretty much anyplace else. Once your friends know where you are, they can recommend places for you to go or things for you to do and see nearby. To keep it fun, the service gives you points for each check-in; and in time you can earn various badges tracking your progress toward Foursquare elitehood.

Even cooler, if the service recognizes you as the mayor of a location (by virtue of your having visited that place more frequently than anyone else), you are in for some freebies. Foursquare has a massive list of places all over the world that offer special discounts and free drinks to their mayors, or to anyone who has registered a certain number of check-ins at their site.

Scoville integrates with your Foursquare check-ins and collects your favorite places on a weekly basis. As more users sign up, these recommendations will create a ranking of places in each city, allowing Scoville to recommend check-ins based on popularity.

0411cm-scoville

Bizzy is trying a different angle, collecting place ratings and reviews as users leave a venue, through the check-out feature.

0411cm-bizzy-2

Glancee is an app for iPhone, Android, and Facebook that makes it fun and safe to discover people nearby who share friends and interests with you. Behind the scenes, Glancee uses Facebook to find common friends and Wikipedia to match users based on interests relevant to one another. Say you like Apple: Glancee will match you with people interested in Steve Jobs, Twitter, Slashdot, Silicon Valley, and more.

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