Take n0tice: The Guardian Launches Online Community Noticeboards


The Guardian, one of the more forward-thinking newspapers today, is about to launch a new product that will be part community noticeboard, part Craigslist, and part local news site. N0tice, as the project is called, draws its inspiration from the early bulletin board systems of the 80s and 90s, as well as the noticeboards you see in your local supermarkets. Once launched, you will be able to “share news, post details about forthcoming events or let people know you have something to sell or share.”

The service is invite-only right now, but you can get on the waiting list here. Users will be able to create their own homepages on n0tice and customize their look and feel. The social features of the site apparently include the ability to follow other users, tags and locations. There will also be a read API. Users will be able to post classifieds and short news reports.

The service will be ad-supported a free to users. Users can buy premium placement for their notices, however, at the cost of £1 per day.

N0tice will also feature some gamification elements, similar to Foursquare. The first person to start a local site will become the editor/mayor, but once other users become more active on the site, they can become the editor themselves.

You can find more information about the philosophy behind n0tice from the Guardian’s director of digital strategy Matt McAlister here.

Which Location-Focused Network Will be the First to Get it Right?

With Nextdoor, of course, another socal network with an emphasis on local communities came out of beta today. Clearly, there is a market for location-focussed social networks and tools like n0tice. Until now, however, few of these have been able to really break through in the market. EveryBlock, which was bought by MSNBC in 2009, for example, is probably the most prominent of these sites, but it, too, has not become a huge mainstream success yet.

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9:12 pm

Trover: The Best Location-Based Discovery App You’re Not Using (Yet)


We all got our fair share of laughs out of the failed launch of the over-hyped photo-sharing/social networking service Color. While the idea behind the service was smart, the execution was abysmally bad. Trover, which quietly launched earlier this month, takes some of Color’s most basic ideas and puts them into an easy to use free iOS app (iTunes link). The app is based around the idea that you want to share photos of cool places around you with the rest of the world. There is also a location-based social networking aspect to the app, but you could easily ignore this aspect of the service without losing it’s basic functionality.

Location-based social networking based on photo sharing sounds like a complete buzzword overload, but oddly enough, it actually works out very well in Trover. In some ways, it’s the kind of app you would expect Flickr to make if Flickr still had an ounce of innovation left in it.


How it Works

The idea behind Trover is very simple: it allows you to publicly share geotagged images with anybody else on the service. That is, admittedly, nothing too original, but it’s very well implemented. The main view of the app shows you all of the images around you, organized by distance. By default, you will see all the images around you, but you can also filter this down to seeing just the images of the people in your social network on Trover (you sign in with your Facebook account, but the app won’t automatically add your Facebook friends to your network).

Share Your Discoveries – Whatever They May Be

Because of the app’s open approach, you can virtually share anything you want. The people around me have shared anything from photos of restaurant menus and food to pictures of local sights, interesting stores and weird stuff they found while walking down the street (no dearth of that here in Portland). Of course, this also means that some people just take pictures of the food they made at home, but so far, I’ve seen surprisingly little of this.

Trover’s Currency: A Simple ‘Thank You’

Unlike other apps like Foursquare and Gowalla, where the focus is more on amassing virtual badges and collecting digital flotsam, the currency on Trover is a simple ‘thank you.’ To thank others, you don’t have to be part of their social network. This makes it easy to thank other and it’s surprisingly rewarding to be thanked by others.

For the most part, the service has been flying under the radar. Hopefully this will change soon. You can download the app here.

10:29 am

Survey: 1 Out of 3 Smartphone Users Would Rather Give Up Chocolate Than Their Phones


A third of smartphone owners would rather give up chocolate than their devices and 39% of U.S. consumers with smartphones have used their phones in the bathroom. These are some of the more interesting results of a survey that Google just released. It’s no secret that we tend to use our phones to get online (81%) while watching TV (33%), but in this survey Google was more interested in the role these devices play while users are out shopping and looking for local information.

It’s All About Local Info

According to Google, 90% of smartphone searches result in an action, which Google defines along the lines of purchasing something or visiting a business. Most of the time (88%), this action is taken within a day. While 90% sounds like a large number, it does ring true, especially given that most mobile searches are indeed action-oriented and likely focused on getting to a very specific place. This number makes even more sense when we take into account that the survey also found that 95% of smartphone users regularly use their phones to look up local information.

Interestingly, Google did not look into the differences between Android and iPhone users (most likely because the survey is focused on the company’s mobile ad platform, which is available for both devices).

Here are a few additional data points from Google’s survey: [list]

  • 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, from comparing prices, finding more product info to locating a retailer
  • 74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase, whether online, in-store, or on their phones
  • 70% use their smartphones while in the store, reflecting varied purchase paths that often begin online or on their phones and brings consumers to the store
  • 24% recommended a brand or product to others as a result of a smartphone search
  • 93% of smartphone owners use their smartphones while at home [/list]

One set of numbers of the survey I don’t fully buy, though, is that “half of those who see a mobile ad take action, with 35% visiting a website and 49% making a purchase.” These numbers just seem too high – especially given what we know about how surfers on the Web generally react to ads.

10:55 am

Google Places with Hotpot Comes to the iPhone


Google Places, Google’s database of local businesses that is tightly integrated into Google Maps, just arrived on the iPhone in the form of a stand-alone application. This app also includes support for Hotpot, the company’s new social review and recommendation service that is taking up the fight against incumbents like Yelp and CitySearch. Android users already had access to this feature since November 2010.

The app works just like you would expect it. Once started, you will be greeted with a choice of categories (restaurants, bars, gas stations, hotels, etc.) and clicking on their respective icons then gets you to a list of relevant businesses close to you. If you actively rate places on Hotpot, you will also get better local recommendations that could be a bit farther away from you but are more likely to be of interest to you. Of course, you can also see your friends’ reviews and recommendations from Places and Hotpot in the app.

For now, this application will be available in English only. Google expects to roll out more features and localizations in the near future.

Google has recently put a lot of emphasis on the oddly named Hotpot. Earlier this week, it also announced the integration of Hotpot directly into Google Maps, one of the company’s most popular products. This app will surely help Google to drive the adoption rate of Hotpot even higher and bring more reviews to its database.


hotpot on iphone

9:20 am