You know what’s hipper than Hipster? Actually launching.
OK, that’s not quite what the three-person team behind new local Q&A site Gootip said but it’s true that this tiny French startup launched this week has got their product out in the wild in full before their US-based rival.
Ignoring the host of other location-based Q&A offerings, Gootip is also keen to point out that it isn’t a Hipster clone and that the company started work on their product before the Hipster buzz. Unlike Hipster, Gootip hasn’t taken funding either.
Founded by ex-PriceMinister alumni Mathieu Bidart, Eric Gagnaire and Thierry Sebba out of a small garage in the South West of France, Gootip invites users to ask and answer questions in context of a particular city, town or specific location. It then ties users’ knowledge to a particular location by linking their Foursquare and Facebook check-ins, along with their home and work location as specified in their profile upon sign-up. The idea is those who are based in or have visited a location are best placed to answer other users’ location-based questions.
Asking a question is a little clunky; you have to perform a search first to avoid duplicate questions and then have to re-enter your question, along with specifying a location. Additionally, questions need to be categorized (Nightlife, Shopping, Arts & Entertainment etc.), which makes sense. An expiry period is also required for each question, such as 24 hours or one week.
Overall, the user experience needs to be streamlined and polished a little (the English could be improved too) but then again, the site is in Beta and has only just launched. Obviously, along with iterating the browser-based site, mobile apps should be next.
But what is clear is that Gootip, by building on top of Foursquare and Facebook’s location user-data, has demonstrated that the barriers of entry for this type of service has gotten a lot lower.
Hipster doesn’t look so hip now.