Getting Closer…

Location-based media have changed the way people move in public space, how they perceive the urban realm, how they communicate and share information, and so on. The market for location-based applications is expanding rapidly. Recent research has amounted more than 6,000 location-based apps to be currently available for the iPhone alone. Here I would like to draw your attention to two new kids on the block that offer a new take on physical proximity: Ditto and Yobongo.

According to TechCrunch, “Ditto is an iPhone app in the location space that goes beyond the check-in”. Whereas Foursquare enables its users express where they currently are by letting them check in at venues, Ditto is focused on future activities: what are you planning to do, and where? Explains Ditto’s founder Jyri Engestrom, “It is about sharing your intent to do something instead of what you’ve already done”. It works very easy. Users do not need to register for an account — signing in through Facebook is enough. The home screen presents some twelve icons that define different activities such as ‘work’, ‘eat out’, ‘see movie’. To specify their intentions, users can choose other icons beyond the general one, such as ‘Asian’ under ‘eat out’.

What makes Ditto very interesting is, on the one hand, its focus on activity, and, on the other hand, its social stream of activities from users that are in close proximity. It has never been easier to have spontaneous meetings with people in the neighborhood who fancy drinking a cocktail, watching a football match, or eating a pizza. Click here to download and try Ditto, it is free.

Yobongo is another interesting location-based app, which was launched in March. In fact it is a chat application, but instead of having conversations with the people you already know Yobongo lets you chat with people in the surrounding neighborhood. It should feel a bit like an old school chat room filled with total strangers, but here you know that those people showing up in the list are nearby. In Yobongo there are no chat boxes to select people to follow, the only thing that gathers people is their physical location. The app is currently only available in some American cities, such as New York, San Francisco and Austin, but the developers have announced to slowly roll out the service out to cities across the world. When you are lucky to live in a Yobongo-ready city, click here to download the app.