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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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Case Study: Location-Based Applications

In this case study, we will explore an application type that has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years: the location-based application.

Applications like Gowalla, FourSquare, or even Facebook Places demonstrate the current capabilities of these types of services. We’ll use these services as a jumping-off point for exploring the ways that location-based applications can gain new users, increase levels of daily active use, and deliver highly customized monetization experiences.

Meeting friends

One of the greatest benefits to location-based applications is being able to see where your friends are. At some point, we’ve probably all thought to ourselves, I wonder what so-and-so is doing, or I wonder if any of my friends are someplace interesting where I can join them. With location-based applications, users no longer have to wonder. Providing functionality for people to follow one another and see the places their friends check in to allows them to socialize more.

Warning

When users want to join friends at a location that they have checked in to, one issue they might face is that their friends might not actually be at that location anymore. Although these services offer a check-in option, they do not offer a check-out option.

Giving users a location-based way to interact with their friends allows them to use your service for something way beyond its original intent, and in doing so, motivates them to find new and innovative methods for deriving ...

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