Apple, Path, Facebook, others in lawsuit sights
A new lawsuit (below) filed last week and uncovered on Friday by CNET could try and take Apple and key iOS app writers to task for alleged unapproved contact access. The potential class action case accuses those who've admitted to any access, such as Path, Twitter, and Instagram, of violating privacy by becoming "mobile radio beacons" that were "broadcasting and publicly exposing" contact lists to everyone. Questionably, however, it also names the developers of numerous other unverified apps of doing the same thing, including Beluga, Burbn, Chillingo, EA, Facebook, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Hipster, Gowalla, Kik, LinkedIn, Rovio (Angry Birds), and ZeptoLab (Cut the Rope).
Gowalla to ramp down after Facebook takeover
Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams confirmed Monday the talk that his company had been bought by Facebook. The location check-in service is now due to ramp down by the end of January as most of the team moves to Palo Alto. Users should get an option to export their current and legacy data, including photos, and won't see the data handed over.
Facebook sets up Foursquare rivalry with Gowalla
Facebook was reported as having bought check-in service Gowalla. Contacts explained to CNN that chief executive Josh Williams and most of the staff would relocate to Facebooks' Palo Alto headquarters, with some staying behind in Austin. Unusually, they wouldn't work directly on Facebook Places' check-ins, instead switching to the Facebook Timeline revamp of the profile page.
Gowalla apps get social guides, new features
Check-in service Gowalla has announced on Thursday the release of new iPhone (App Store) and Android (Market) apps that include a feature called Social Guides. They include places friends recommend, advice from experts and the best of what's local in particular cities, parks and other regions. The launch covers 60 cities and shows off photos, highlights and experiences from friends and experts.
Foursquare reaches milestone with new app feature
Foursquare marked its billionth check-in last week by launching a new version of its mobile apps. Version 3.5 of the Android (Market), BlackBerry (App World), and iOS (App Store) releases now or will soon have the lists feature once only available on the web. Along with the to-do list, it includes any custom-created list, such as favorite coffee shops or sushi places.
Pew study shows rapid takeup of location apps
Over a quarter of the US uses some kind of online location service, Pew discovered Tuesday. About 28 percent have used Google Maps or a similar location service at least on the web. With smartphone owners, that number more than doubles to 58 percent, researchers said.
3 in 4 mobile users check-in from a smartphone
comScore, a market research firm that measures trends in the digital world has released a study that shows just how mobile the world has become. Their research reveals that many mobile and smartphone users checked in using mobile apps such Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla. The study, which surveyed users in March, found that 16.7 million, or 7.1 percent of the total US mobile subscriber base used location-based “check-in” services on their phones. 17.6 percent of the estimated 12.7 million smartphone owners now use these services.
Most complete Gowalla 3 iPhone app released
Gowalla, the check-in service that competed with Foursquare, has opted out of direct competition and has now released Gowalla 3.0 for iPhone (free, App Store) to let users link to their Foursquare and Facebook accounts. The app also lets users view their friends' check-ins from the three services. The user interface is also now slightly improved, with the check-in button accessible from the toolbar.
Facebook Places arrives with mobile apps
(Update: app is now live) Facebook today launched Facebook Places, its own equivalent to location check-in services such as Foursquare. The service both provides a way of marking both immediate presence but also adds a more social component. Visitors can post status updates that stay after they leave and tag friends who are in the area, even if they don't have a device that can check in.
Shopkick one-ups Foursquare with real apps
Bay Area startup shopkick today launched its self-titled iPhone app (free, App Store) in a bid to upstage Foursquare and other location check-in rivals. The service uses GPS to detect when it's within range of a given store and will automatically send a "signal" to a device in the store itself to let it know when the user is close. Shoppers then get credits, or kickbucks, for visiting the store that they can ultimately roll into actual discounts, even if they haven't necessarily bought items during the earlier trips.
Twitter to use POIs for location data
Twitter at its inaugural Chirp conference today said it would add points of interest to its geolocation features. Location-aware computers and handhelds will now recognize when they're at a notable location and identify any tweets as coming from that place. The feature could potentially be used to follow all updates from a particular location, such as a convention center or a concert.
Foursquare investigting buyout options
Location check-in game Foursquare is shopping itself to some of the top tech companies in the US, a rumor today insists. Company co-founder Dennis Crowley's trip last week purportedly involved discussions of buyouts from Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. Yahoo is said by SAI to be at least somewhat interested and has its merger team considering a possible $100 million deal.