In case you haven’t heard, social-local-mobile technology is becoming a tent pole for development. It’s even been given its own terrible moniker, SoLoMo. Ridiculous name aside, this market has exploded with new apps and ideas over the past year – and for the most part, they fall somewhere on a scale of quietly fading away to crashing and burning.
Part of the problem with location-based apps has been that they are inherently complicated. There are lots of problems that need to be solved — it can be tedious work, and not everyone wants to do it. That’s where Geoloqi comes in. For over a year now, the service has provided a cross-platform approach to implementing location features (among other things) in apps.
“There’s all this pent up demand because people want to really easily implement location features,” CEO and co-founder Amber Case tells me. And now Geoloqi is taking the next step with a new partnership with Appcelerator, making the Geoloqi module available for Appcelerator’s Titanium 2.0 platform (Appcelerator is also sponsoring a two-month free trial for all Titanium developers who register and download the Geoloqi Titanium module between now and June 30, 2012). This means 1.6 million developers will now have the robust Geoloqi framework available to creative native Android and iOS location apps — which has been on many a developer’s wish list, much thanks to the platform’s battery saving efforts.
Battery life: The other big piece thwarting the mobile location puzzle; namely, how much these apps suck the life out of it. Geoloqi has made battery life an evolving priority. “We don’t take the approach it can be solved — we think it can be improved over time,” says Case. “We use an algorithm that gets more and more complex to help this. It’s all these discrete pieces that when you add them up gets you better battery life. It’s all about intelligently handling the various factors.”
Along with the new partnership, customizable geo-triggered events will now be available from Geoloqi. This means developers can implement push messages to users when they cross a geofence — or a location that triggers an action — as well as a variety of other location-based notification actions.
If you take one look at the state of location apps, you should see that there’s a distinct need for something like this. The last year is littered with the remains of location apps that didn’t work, drained battery, pushed too many notifications, or too few. “While it’s not impossible to get good accuracy and battery life, it’s like doing your taxes – nobody wants to do their taxes,” says Case. Founders and developers (often one in the same) get caught up promoting and designing an app, sometimes failing to do the dirty work — and Geoloqi is more than happy to lay a foundation for them.
The team eats its own dog food, too. “We’re testing and improving it over time,” Case tells me, saying they will drive and bike around town, trying out various apps. “You have to be out in the field and test it if you’re going to make a geo-location app.”
Case admits that the early run at location-based apps has been fraught with difficulties. “The early experience has been tough,” she says. “People are focusing on the social aspect, but I think location is really personal. There’s something about the ‘social network of one’ thing, where you’re socializing with places and things instead of people.”
She mentions that she likes Highlight, the SoLoMo app that took SXSW by storm, and calls Grindr the “best example of a location-based app because it solves a real problem and a real need.” Case also says she doesn’t use Foursquare anymore because it takes too long to check-in. It may feel like location apps are already a dime a dozen, but the momentum in this market is just gaining traction.
“Location is a powerful decision and you have to do it right. I know that when I talk to any company they have location on their road map, they just don’t have a good way of implementing it and that’s really our approach: We’re solving this problem for you.”