Geodelic: the Locational Browser
Geodelic is a locational browser, enabling you to search for things around you like bars, restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters, etc. Local search has the potential to be a very lucrative space, as more and more Yellow Pages dollar migrate towards paid search. It’s also very crowded, including players like Yelp, Foursquare (somewhat), Poynt, traditional yellow pages companies, and many others. (What we’re seeing in this space is the earliest parts of the coming integration of real life with virtual information. Who would’ve guessed it would start with Foursquare.) However, Geodelic’s approach is fundamentally different – Geodelic is a locational browser, mashing up data from other services and presenting it in an attractive and useful way.
More than simply being a front-end for other services on the mobile phone, Geodelic also has some innovative user-focused features. It judges distance against relevance in search results, enables “searchless search” through their nav bar (very cool UI), and it uses passive personalization – so the app learns about you.
The local business data set in the application is not perfect. If you’ve tried to build any kind of locational search app, you know this data is almost impossible to get. It needs to be up-to-date, correctly categorized, and accurate – which is really, really hard to find. The companies that own these data sets (e.g. Yelp) are reluctant to share them with competitors. Most of the criticism in the app store is leveled at the quality of the listings. But this is ultimately a white-labeled play to sell to large companies with perfect data sets, so while that is a problem with the mass market app, it is not a problem with the business.
Geodelic’s Revenue Model
Geodelic makes money by selling a white-labeled version of their platform, enabling businesses to roll easily roll out location-based apps. It’s a B2B2C play. They also provide LBS ads for brands, but it seems like the white-labeled experiences are doing better. They’ve provided experiences for notable customers like Universal Studios (see the picture of the customized Universal Studios app). Theme parks are a natural for technology like this, as are sports venues, conventions, and other large events.
The designers of Geodelic “get” mobile apps. Let’s take a closer look:
Passive personalization While most technologies like this ask you to fill out some sort of series of forms, Geodelic learns from your likes and dislikes as you use the system. I think this is a great feature, and we’ll see more and more of this as time moves forward (I hope). Much like how you become a regular at a restaurant, things are slowly personalized more and more to your needs as you use the service more, creating a virtuous cycle of user adoption and usage.
More is worse One key to mobile app success is doing one thing incredibly well rather than doing lots of things clumsily. It would’ve been easy to get caught up in the check-in world, becoming another check-in, social network driven player in an already incredibly crowded market. I think concentration on one core experience and delivering it in an excellent way that also pays lots of attention to UI and UX is key to success on the mobile phone. Apps must delight consumers for the entire short time they use them, and Geodelic is both functional and captivating.
Think differently about an old standard Every search interface I’ve ever seen is based on entering text into a box and pressing enter, and then showing the user a list. Geodelic’s gone in a completely different direction that still retains that functionality while taking unique advantage of the mobile device.
According to CEO Rahul Sonnad, Geodelic is about to make some major announcements, and presumably scale operations with the new money. I hope they add social features – it seems strange to use a location-based service without them. It will be really interesting to see what reception the Geodelic products receive, given the last 12 months incredible advancement in the local/mobile/social market. However, I also wonder if people will go through the trouble of downloading an app just for an airport or theme park that will most likely be used only once.
Go check out the Geodelic app now! It’s awesome and it’s free.
What do you think about Geodelic? What’s the future of local search? Leave a comment and share with the community…