Articles Posted in Location- based Services




A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.



PlayStudios launches myVegas social casino games with MGM

Social casino game startups are the cliché of 2012. Everybody is either starting a new company in this hot market — on the bet that the U.S. will allow online gambling sites again — or spending a lot of money acquiring casino game startups. But PlayStudios believes it is different because it is a blend of Silicon Valley and Las Vegas. The company was founded by Andrew Pascal, a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former casino empire executive.

American Express launches FarmVille rewards card

American Express has created a card that rewards FarmVille users with virtual cash for their real-world purchases. Users of the hit social media game can begin signing up for the FarmVille card starting Tuesday. The card is part of American Express’ prepaid Serve platform.

[Report] Marketing Goes Local

PwC, together with the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA), has developed this white paper to educate the industry on location-based marketing and to provide a general overview for retailers, brands and their agents, mobile network operators, and service providers on the application of these services to drive customer engagement and brand awareness.

Gamification market to reach $2.8 billion in 2016

Gamification, the process of applying game mechanics to activities that aren’t games, is rapidly becoming a big business, according to a new report by Wanda Meloni of M2 Research. She projects the market to reach $242 million in 2012 (more than double the 2011 total), and to climb to $2.8 billion in 2016.

Could Virtual Nanotransactions Solve the Mobile Payments Problem?

Very few people in the mobile industry will disagree that mobile payments are today’s biggest challenge for developers. In the Apple universe, there is a strong solution to the problem: Apple simply requires users to register their credit cards before they can use any services. But this approach only works for a very small segment of high end users in the developed world.




There are a number of people out there who are warning us that there needs to be more awareness of how much information we’re disclosing via social networks. Some of them, like the now-shuttered, were doing it intentionally. Others, like Facebook Breakup Notifier (FBN),
do it by implication. FBN lets users pick certain friends whose relationship status they’d like to monitor. If one of those relationships changes, the user gets notified by e-mail. Every tweet, update, video and blog post is a micro-chapter of your public profile that anyone can access. Although the information that is created is for friends, family and colleagues,
people seem to rely on the scale of the internet to keep them anonymous without realizing that the information they post is also available to people with less virtuous interests. According to a study reported in The Telegraph, 36% of users who responded to a survey do not limit access to their social media profiles.

The latest tool for would-be stalkers is the aptly-named “Creepy.”  Its creator describes it as a ‘geolocation information aggregator.’ Creepy is an application for Linux or Windows —
with a Mac OS X port in the works — that gathers public information on a selected individual via social networking services to map their travel patterns. Right now it only works through Twitter and Flickr, but it’s already pretty impressive. Creepy uses the services’ APIs to download every photo or tweet the target user has ever published, analyzing each for the user’s location at the time.  Although Twitter’s geolocation setting is optional, images shared via sites like Twitpic and Yfrog are usually taken using a smartphone – which, usually unbeknownst to the user, records the location information in the EXIF data of the image. Creepy finds these photos,
downloads them, and extracts the location data.

The end result looks something like this:


With a map icon appearing for each location listed. Given that people spend the majority of their time at work/school or at home, Creepy discloses a frequent Tweeter/cell phone camera user-Flickr poster’s travel patterns.

According to the same article in The Telegraph, a survey of reformed burglars determined that 12% would use websites like Facebook and Twitter to find out when their potential victim is out of the house, and that was before they had the aid of something like Creepy.

According to the Creepy FAQ, “I don’t think that the fact that your geolocation information can be gathered and aggregated is disturbing. The fact that you were publishing it in the first place, is, on the other hand. Just to be clear, the intention behind creating creepy was not to help stalkers or promote/endorse stalking. It was to show exactly how easy it is to aggregate geolocation information and make you think twice next time you opt-in for geolocation features in twitter, or hitting ‘allow’ in the ‘this application wants to use your current location dialog on your iphone.”

To quote Helen Popkin, “Honestly, the way some of you people behave online, it’s like you’ve never had a stalker.”


brightkite.pngBrightkite has announced that it is rolling out a new business model focusing on group text and abandoning its check-in model. According to the Brightkite blog posting, its new  Android application can be your “default text messaging app, handling ALL your messaging from one app, saving you money with free texting while giving you many more
capabilities than regular texting.” It goes on to state that this will include Groups, Photos, Location sharing and more.

As for the stated reason behind this pivot, Brightkite said:

These features were the defining element to our company 2 and 3 years
ago, but we no longer believe they are sufficiently unique or defining
to be our focus, so we are dropping them.

The changes are expected to start taking place December 17. It is
offering users an option to back up old posts and check-ins by Dec 31.