Location-based apps and services have proven invaluable when it comes to meeting up with friends. And while many new entrants in the category are focused on making romantic connections
, the most recent crop emphasizes the discovery of new friendships and professional contacts in a way that may turn out to be more meaningful than that of traditional online social networks.
: There are many apps that use geo-location to link the physical world to the digital one, but often they do so through status updates that are overlooked when they’re most relevant. Though founder Damien Patton conceived the idea
for Banjo when a friend visiting from out of town posted an Instagram photo just a few miles away from him which he never saw, the app’s greatest asset may be its ability to connect strangers. Recently launched for iPhone
, Banjo aggregates the location-based updates of the 16 people nearest to a user, based on public geo-tagged social media updates. It’s instant community, no matter where one is.
: Sonar is out to prove why we should forget our mothers’ advice about not talking to strangers
. The new mobile app
tracks users’ locations to “help [them] learn about and connect with likeminded people nearby.” The goal is to connect people who don’t know each other but should
. The app prides itself
on the fact that it can be used to identify potential friends or professional contacts even if the stranger in question is not opted in to Sonar. As long as the information they are posting on Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook is public, their presence is fair game. Makes one think twice about not using those privacy settings, huh?
: Anyone who’s ever had an interesting conversation with a stranger only to realize later that they didn’t get the other person’s last name will appreciate Friendthem. This recent entry to the iTunes store
utilizes location-based software to identify the Facebook profiles of fellow Friendthem users within 1,500 feet, allowing users to send immediate Facebook friend requests to new acquaintances. If there are places where one would rather not be discovered, like the gym or the seedy local dive bar, a Hiding Spot feature allows users to remain anonymous in specified locations. Should it catch on, it could ultimately make Craigslist Missed Connections obsolete