02-24-2010, 05:56 PM
While I was still at my internship I wrote an article about the best location-aware apps. I thought I would ask for input though. I still use Yellow Pages daily, it seems, but the others are starting to gather digital dust on my iPhone desktop. What am I missing, or are these still top dog?
My Favorite Geolocation Apps
Yellow Pages is the flagship of all location based business search apps. This app comes out on top of a crowded field of competitors; in the current app rankings it is a full 600 spots above its closest competitor, AT&T. This app excels based on two strengths.
The first strength is that it has been around since the launch of the App Store and, like any good wine, only gets better with age. Second, the app time and time again produces results that are more robust and accurate than its competition. What else would you expect from a company that has been in the search game for decades?
As you would expect from a geolocation search app, just enter your query and the app sorts results based distance from your location. In fact, this is one of the few apps available the day the App Store launched and included GPS-enabled search before Apple designed the phone to do such a task. The search results include customer ratings, contact info and GPS directions. The app also includes a one-tap command to add results to your contact list and several suggested search terms to choose from. All these features are housed in a simple, user-friendly interface that makes browser searching seem just plain old-fashioned.
The days of searching for the phonebook, the searching with the phonebook are dead now that Yellow Pages app allows users to search and call with just one tap.
iLoci 2 Lite:
If you can get past the silly name, you will have one of the better ways to be the kind of parent I always wished I had. iLoci 2 is an app that allows groups of users to keep track of each other via GPS mapping. The most obvious use of such technology would be to take advantage of the opportunity to do a healthy amount of geo-spying on your friends and family. That is where the genius of the program kicks in; you are able to adjust privacy settings so that only people you want to be in the loop are able to identify your location. Now back to the parenting part Ė this means that parents are able to let their children have fun, but make sure they arenít across town at some seedy bar or up on loverís lane. Itís a parentís way of granting freedom to their children without abandoning responsibility.
Echofon for Twitter:
Though Twitterfon, now known as Echofon for Twitter, underwent a name change, all of our favorite features remain a part of what is easily the best of the free Twitter client apps around. In terms of geolocation abilities, the app allows users to type location-based tweets to share with friends, as well as sort results in your feed based on proximity to your current location. Another neat search option is to see all the recent tweets from other Twitter users around you. Just tap one of the pins in a map and get a quick look at who is saying what in your neighborhood.
Beyond the location-based abilities, we have a very powerful, yet lean Twitter client app. Users are able to customize lists, search mentions and replies, and enable specific push notifications. Not bad for an app that asks only to display occasional banner ad in return.
FourSquare makes the list because it is a really neat concept that has a lot of potential to be one of the most sticky-sweet and engaging iPhone apps around. The concept is to have users ďcheck-inĒ whenever they visit a business or restaurant around town. Doing so lets your friends know what places are worth visiting. Also, you are rewarded with points for using the app, fueling competition for the alpha males among us. The app also allows you to leave tips for future visitors, read reviews on Yelp! and search nearby tweets. All told, this represents a step in a new direction for social networking; think geocaching but for urbanites.
Though I am not personally a fan of the geocaching craze, I donít want vitriol filling the comments area of this article by upset geocaching die-hards who cry foul about a list without their favorite GL app. With that said, the cream of this inexplicable crop goes to Groundspeak, Incís Geocaching app. It is a great app that boasts a library of over 965,000 spots to hunt down in your own neighborhood or across the globe. With stellar user ratings and good critical acclaim, this is a sure bet if you want to go find buried treasure of no monetary value.