Social media monitoring firm Sysomos is launching a free location-based monitoring service today it’s calling FourWhere. The tool mines publicly available Foursquare data (tips) and mashes them up with a Google map of the location you’ve entered. There’s no sign-up or account required. It’s just clever link-bait and enthusiasm-building from one of the emerging players in the social media monitoring market.
My first reaction to this was, “Can’t you just search for a location in Foursquare and get the same thing?” Apparently not. Foursquare seems to offer only the actual location (e.g. – “Toast, Louisville, Ky.”) not the area. (A search for “Louisville, Ky.” produced next to nothing.) If FourWhere provides that, it will be an improvement over what is available.
I got a sneak peek and logged in. You pick a location on the map, right click and choose to show venues or comments. What you get is an immediate scan of any Foursquare info in the immediate area. This is extremely useful if you’re looking for recommendations and referrals and, if FourWhere catches on, or similar services emerge, it makes a business’s use of location-based services all the more important in their social media marketing activities.
According to Sysomos co-founder Nilesh Bansal, the service will soon add information from Yelp, Gowalla, Twitter and other social sources. Now that would be pretty compelling. Keep an eye on it to see what happens.
To their credit, Sysomos has sold itself as offering geo-targeting for quite a while when other social media monitoring services have shied away from it. Offering geo-location for blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc., is not an exact science. You can’t use IP address information to do it. DirecTV satellite users in, say Iowa, still register as being from Los Angeles, for example. So there has to be some public data mining and matching to know a certain blogger hails from Louisville. If you’re using machines to do it, it’s tough. If you’re using humans, it doesn’t scale.
Now that location-based services are offering more data (until recently it was pretty much Yelp and a couple review sites) the Sysomoses of the world are jumping on offering that information up in useful and compelling ways. We’ll see how well it works. Kudos to them for jumping on the opportunity.
For more on Sysomos, check out my review of their offering from November of 2009 when they added Facebook data mining to their Heartbeat services.
And when you jump into FourWhere, come back and tell us what you think. I’m sure Nilesh and gang will be monitoring what you have to say. It’s kinda what they do.