Reviews

Kevin Rose’s Oink: Stop Rating Places – Rate the Stuff Inside Them Instead

Oink, the first product to come out of Digg-founder Kevin Rose’s Milk project, launched earlier this week. At this point, the thought of yet another location-based app that lets you rate things may induce some involuntary yawning in you. After testing it for a while now, though, I have to say that while I was highly skeptical of yet another app in this space, Oink actually puts enough of a twist on the genre to be interesting and to become a potential challenger to similar services like Foursquare (or even Yelp) in the long run.

News

As Check-Ins Fizzle Out, Gowalla Pivots

Check-in services like Gowalla and Foursquare were the most hyped kinds of apps of 2010, but for the most part, it has become pretty clear that mainstream users don’t care a lot about checking in. It makes sense then, that Gowalla today announced a major reshuffling of its feature set at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco today. Instead of focussing on checking in, the new Gowalla now puts an emphasis on sharing “stories” and building travel logs. Also among the new features are “guides,” which are “curated travel guides for numerous cities around the world.”

Infographics

Beyond the Check-In Hype: Unmotivated Users [Infographic]

Silicon Valley often falls in love with ideas that work great for geeks, early adopters and Robert Scoble, but that often leave mainstream users cold. Check-in-based location sharing services like Foursquare, Gowalla and co. are one of the most recent examples of this. The good folks behind the Social-Loco conference (which incidentally starts tomorrow) teamed up with digital agency Beyond to take a closer look at what could motivate consumers to start using these products. Today, according these companies’ research, almost 50% of those who currently don’t use check-in apps simply have no motivation for doing so.

location

Echoecho 2.0 Makes Meeting Up With Your Friends as Easy as Five Clicks

Echoecho is one of the most useful location-based apps on the market today. When you hear the word “location-based app,” chances are you are thinking about services like Foursquare and Gowalla. While these can be fun, their utility is rather limited (unless you really feel the need to collect virtual badges). Echoecho, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to solve a simple problem: finding where your friends are. The service lets you ask your friends where they are and then decide on a place to meet up if you feel like doing so.

Opinion

What's the Point of Checking In?

I used to think that location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and all of their clones represented the next big thing in mobile. The reality, however, is that even though these companies are still growing (or at least say they are), I just can’t figure out why I should continue to check in when I…