Instead of having to do the heavy lifting on plugging in their preferences, members can now discover new and hard-to-find lifestyle locations through like-minded TrustedPlaces reviewers and via proactive recommendations based on their preferences and their clickstream on the site.
The upshot is that you can create ‘My top ten London bars’ or ‘Best London Restaurants’ based on your surfing of the site, which also now features the ability to build your own city or area guides in a ‘wiki’ fashion.
Users can also become ‘Local experts’ on an area based on the content they create, proactively recommend places, group and share favourites. And the site also now features taste matching, ‘buzz tracking’, You can also browse people by city and geography. No postcodes or users are shown but the site will show people near you and by their tastes.
CEO, Sokratis Papafloratos told me that the “Personalised recommendations are derived by taking data about likes/dislikes but also location, activity on site, and your friends activity. It’s a departure from the traditional search model where you have to find something. It’s closer to the LastFM model which looks at activity on site.”
Trusted Places has also halved the number of clicks it takes to upload or embded video reviews of a place (from four to two), indicating the importance of video to their overall strategy.
Advertising is still the revenue model for the site but they have yet to fully implement this.
TrustedPlaces has also created a Facebook-like mini-feed so that users can track what their friends are doing and looking at (with the appropriate privacy controls). Members can track what’s being uploaded in their favourite areas and track favourite reviewers and friend-submitted reviews.
Papafloratos told me this was always in the original business plan from a year ago, although they are going to find it hard to argue against critics who think otherwise. But no matter – it’s this the kind of thing every smart social network will be doing in a matter of months, whether they got the idea from Facebook or not.
This latest refresh of the service ups the game in the ‘social networking around location’ sector which is possibly the hottest startup sector right now in the UK.