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ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 23 20.39

I just heard from our friends at WillowTree Apps about their most recent iPhone app, “Likes.” Utilizing the growing number of Facebook Likes out there, it will look at your friends’ and friends of friends’ activity and make local recommendations accordingly.

It’s an interesting idea, and well within the growing trend of social sharing that we discussed in our 2012 predictions. But it does so in a more passive or automatic way, scanning and using all of those past likes to discern what might be most relevant to you.

WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel tells me that there are enough likes out there among first level and second level (friends of friends) networks, that the data are very useful. Among 400 test users, in fact, they were able to scan more than 20 million likes.

“The concept is basically to turn Facebook Likes into your personal directory,” Dengel told me. “As Yelp and other sites get more and more gamed and over-run, we feel there is a strong need to restrict recommendations to your direct relations — among whom you know exactly [and] whom to trust.”

There have been different versions of this concept for the past five years, but many were before their time (i.e., Grayboxx). By that I mean that the time is likely right now that social sharing is kicking into high gear with check-ins, likes, etc.

Add the new open graph verbs (watched, bought, ate, etc.) and this could get really interesting. This could really unfold as correlations are drawn from a “big data” approach to all of this sentiment data. It won’t just be local info, of course but all kinds of potential applications.

Meanwhile, Likes looks to be a solid local discovery app that should get some traction. Full test drive to come, and you can find out more about the app here and download it from iTunes here.

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