Locle Predictions for 2012

Comments Off  January 3rd, 2012  in News

No, the ground beneath your feet will not open up and eat you.  But welcome to the age of Aquarius, man.

It’s that time of year again.  Time to compare last years predictions to what is now history; and look into the future for next years history…

  • Well, Foursquare tripled its registered (as opposed to monthly active) users fro 5 million to 15 million.  If we give the same valuation that AOL gave to Bebo users and NewsCorp gave to MySpace users (US$24), that values FourSquare at US$360 million.  But it also assumes that each registered user represents US$8 per year in revenues.  The jury is out on that and it remains to be seen what the commercial value of checkin users really is.   Our bet?: US$100 million. In total.  Should have taken the Yahoo! money, guys.
  • Simultaneously, the *other* checkin contender, Gowalla, stumbled, pivoted and ultimately floundered to be “acquihired” into Facebook’s Timeline (trademark?) team.  Supposedly the investors got 100% of nothing for that.  When the FB IPO goes to market, that will smart.
  • Speaking of Facebook, their own geo-social checkin offering flirted with a commercial model in the guise of Groupon-like “deals”, but they pulled the plug pretty quickly on that, suggesting strongly that location is a feature and city deals is not a viable long-term business.
  • This didn’t sway Groupon from IPOing (aka pumping and dumping) onto NASDAQ at a US$20 price.  No shock that after an initial flutter of bullishness, the stock beared down to US$15.  But a bit of a late year surprise as it gained back to the offering price.  Rumour on The Street is that the banks underwriting the pending FB offering are supporting heavily to keep the sector “hot”.

But what of our other prediction?  The rise of the Social TV app?  Well 2011 was definately the year of Social TV with a bevy of startups dreaming the dream: Miso, Philo, Hot Potato, Tellybug, Numote, SideReel, Tunerfish, ScreenTribe, yap.tv and, most notably, IntoNow, who were acquired by Yahoo! to complement their Connected TV offerings, for a quick US$20 million.

IntoNow set the tone for what second screen, social TV, companion apps should be about with “magical” automated content recognition (ACR).  The result being that…PREDICTION… 2012 will all be about ACR: digital fingerprinting, watermarking and content synchronisation.

But the established players are gunning down hard to protect their gatekeeper positions.  Expect a flurry of acquisitions from broadcasters and networks, purely as a defensive tactic more than an over-arching multi-screen, social television strategy.

ACR will also cause a significant disruption in the position of consumer electronics (TV, set top box, media center) manufacturers, who have been dropping the bag by purposefully crippling their “Smart” TV platforms to cow-tow to television content owners fears.

Watch this space as Google TV, Apple TV and the other Boxee-Roku’s get irrelevanced by second screen (tablet and smart phone) applications.

Roll on 2012.


Apple launches “me too” friend finder app with iOS 5

Comments Off  October 5th, 2011  in News

Yesterday Apple launched their own geosocial networking app with iOS 5 called “Find My Friends“.


Find My Friends is an extension of the existing Find My iPhone feature which was included in the mobile Me service.

Find My Friends tips its hat to several established geosocial networking apps with venue checkins similar to FourSquare, Gowalla, Plyce and Facebook Places; time-limited sharing similar to Glympse; and background sharing similar to Google Latitude and of course Locle.

Interestingly, even though the Find My Friends app has OS privileges not available to third party apps, it doesn’t offer “killer” features such as Serendipity or use the bluetooth stack.

Since the Find My Friends service is only available on iOS, it will be interesting to see if it can gain the critical mass and network effects to take off as a social app; or if it will simply join the growing list of me too geosocial apps that have emerged in the past couple of years.

It is unlikely that Apple will provide an API for third party developers to release apps for non-iOS platforms.


Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg talks about the magic of Serendipity

Comments Off  January 4th, 2011  in News

The Atlantic magazine reports that Facebook and FourSquare are planning to drive increased serendipity. 


Mark Zuckerberg, in interview with Time magazine as 2010′s Person of the Year, stated: “We have this concept of serendipity…a lucky coincidence…you bump into a friend that you haven’t seen for a while.  That’s awesome.”


It’s nice to see the other guys beginning to get it. ;-)

He must have read the Irish Times coverage of the launch of Locle’s own Serendipity feature in June 2009!


We should have trademarked “Serendipity”!  The benefit of hindsight.  Alas, the limitations of boot-strapping.

Serendipity will be the killer application of mobile social networking.  You heard it here first.

Locle’s Predictions for 2011

Comments Off  January 1st, 2011  in News

It’s that time of year again when we assess our soothsaying abilities, compare what we thought would happen last year to what did happen and make a few predictions for the next year.

Well 2010 certainly turned out to be the year for location based mobile apps. 

  • FourSquare was offered $100 million by Yahoo! and turned it down. 
  • Facebook launched Facebook Places, with all the checkin fever of a wallaby skipping to avoid outback traffic, but none of the fun of the mayor fair. 
  • Location-based advertising took off at last, in the form of City Deals, Groupon and Living Social.

To counter all this fervor we predict for 2011 that

  • FourSquare will regret not accepting Yahoo!’s offer.  Seriously guys, one hundred million!
  • Facebook Places will get the gammy “gamification” it so rightly deserves.
  • Groupon groupies will bore of spa discounts as the economy pulls out of recession.


But more seriously, we predict that 2011 will see the rise of a new type location based app, an app based around one and only one location: your television.

People spend more time in their homes than they do out-and-about.  The check-in to “Home” may earn you +1 FourSquare point, but it certainly doesn’t earn you social cred.  The social networker (that’s you) needs a way to get check-in fun when doing nothing and going nowhere.

Television is without a doubt the largest geo-located venue .  It’s in everyone`s living room.  And there’s lots to talk about “in” television.  Even though TV audiences can be seperated by large distances, television (live television) synchronizes viewers and brings them together into one venue-event called The Show.

Stay tuned this year as we take what we’ve learned from geo-social and expand into social television — our mission: to change the way that couch potatoes channel surf forever. 

Turn on, check in, drop out.  Again.

Happy New Year.

What’s with the Indonesians?

Comments Off  December 2nd, 2010  in News

Back in May of this year, Yahoo! acquired an Indonesian geo-social startup called Koprol.  Koprol was pretty much unheard of on the geo-social apps landscape.

Yahoo! made the acquisition through their franchisee, Yahoo! Southeast Asia, after Koprol won a Yahoo! Developer Day in Jakarta.

Since May, Koprol has really taken off in Indonesia, now reporting over 1 million users, which puts it in #2 place against FourSquare’s reported 3 5 million users.

Koprol is now also the #3 social network in Indonesia after Twitter and Facebook:


At Locle we had already noticed that there was something special about Indonesia in relation to geo-social.  Without any advertising or promotion of Locle in the Indonesian market, and without any translation or localization, 15% of Locle’s users were from Indonesia.

We know that Indonesia is a big country.  With 240 million people, it’s the fifth most populous. 

So what is it about Indonesians?  We think it’s to do with mobile vs PC usage.  A significant proportion of the population only have mobile phone access to the internet.  But we also think it has something to do with the way Indonesians socialise.  As a predominantly Muslim, yet liberal country, geo-social networking seems to fit well with their way of life.

It’ll be interesting to see what other countries turn out to be surprise geo-socialisers!