Mobile local search company WHERE has released a new iPhone app. After changing its name and reinventing itself as a mobile local ad network, this move returns attention to its own branded app. And fitting to the company’s name, the app focuses much more on local discovery.
This includes a personalized recommendations engine and city guides that are procured from local experts. Utilizing the assets it acquired with Local Ginger, the app will also spotlight local deals and promotions. From the press release:
WHERE’s Recommendation Engine uncovers hidden connections between places through latent semantic indexing, identifying relationships between those shared characteristics and a user’s tastes. Users can also get recommendations via more than 20,000 local guides curated by local experts, which cover everything from top burger places in Boston to the best yoga classes in San Francisco.
The recommendations engine works off users’ explicit activity and inputs. So it gets better at recommending things over time as users enter “favorite places” or “want to go” items. Foursquare has something similar with tips and to-do lists, though it doesn’t yet automate recommendations.
Next moves for the app include personalizing deals using the same recommendations engine. It will also inject social connections to pick up not only a users’ own behavior but also that of her friends. In this way, it will become more like Google’s recently released Hotpot.
These components will all be brought together to occupy what CEO Walt Doyle calls the “pre check-in space.” In other words, the engagement touch points that happen before users decide what to do, see, eat or buy locally (hence the discovery angle).
The new app will be available right away on iPhone and Android, with BlackBerry and other platforms following by year’s end. Meanwhile, you can learn more about WHERE’s strategy at our ILM conference next week, where Doyle will take the stage.