Mopho.to Blends Location Based Check-Ins With Photo Sharing

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Location based apps and services are all the rage now, with Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, and Twitter leading the space. Startup ChoiceVendor has launched a location based iPhone app and service called MoPho.to that has a different twist. Instead of an emphasis on check-ins, MoPhoto is designed around the idea of capturing a photo. It’s “social photography” with geotagged photos enriched with metadata, comments, and likes. You can download the free app here.

Similar to Foursquare, Gowalla and others, MoPhoto is built around a free app and website. And the service currently allows you to tap into your social graph on Facebook. Here’s how it works. The app is essentially built around the camera, requiring you to first take a photo at an event or place (bar, restaurant, business, work etc). Once you take a photo, you can add a caption and you must pin the photo to a geographic place or event. Places are sources from GeoAPI (which was acquired by Twitter last year) and events are sourced from your Facebook events (although the app will eventually pull events from Last.fm and possibly Plancast). When you take a picture, you’ll be given a list of possible place or events near you according to your geolocation.

Once you publish your photo, the image, along with your location according to place or event, will be pushed to your friends who are also using the app, to Mophoto’s site and your Facebook friends, via Facebook Connect. Mophoto will soon add the ability to push to Twitter as well. On the app and site, you’re notified when your friend posts a photo and can easily see photos your friends are posting from places and events around you, giving you an opportunity to follow them in pictures. You can also comment on and “favorite” their photos.

While Gowalla allows you to publish photos with your location, Mophoto aims to differentiate itself by emphasizing the photo first, with the check-in as an afterthought. ChoiceVendor founder, Yan-David Erlich adds that eventually on the site, you’ll be able to search for a particular venue, business, or event, and see all the photos taken by Mophoto users at that events space.

The eventual aim is to create a visual timeline of events and local establishments. There are not current aims to monetize, but Erlich says that there is the possibility of monetizing data about venues.

The app essentially blends Foursquare with Facebook with TwitPic, creating a photo based social network of sorts. Of course, we still don’t know Facebook’s detailed plans for location, so that could become a competitor in addition to Twitter, Gowalla, Foursquare, Loopt and a plethora of others. Erlich, who is an entrepreneur-in-residence at Battery Ventures, and his co-founder are also soon launching ChoiceVendor’s other project, which is essentially a Yelp for the the B2B space.

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