New Banjo App Aims To Become A True Browser For Location, A Much Bigger Opportunity

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Location based apps like Sonar and Highlight have been largely obsessed with what is around us right now. Ban.jo played in this space, but also allowed users to surface what was going on elsewhere. Thus it became a useful tool for news organisations trying to work out what is going on, on the ground in a particular city, especially during the recent US elections. The iPhone and Android app was a little like a teleportation device where you could see location-tagged public posts from Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook posts from anywhere in the world. But with its latest version out today it hopes to become to a new kind of location-driven browser which lets the user look at what is happening at any point on the globe in real time.

The sinuous new interface now truly emphasizes photos and tweets in real time from any location. It also allows you to see your social graph as mapped against cities worldwide, and surfaces the most relevant posts, such as seeing your friends’ posts more visibly based on a location.

Banjo has also mashed up various social graphs so you can see if you are connected to someone on Twitter via a friend on Instagram, via another friend on Foursquare and so on.

One use case is: you know you are flying to a city tomorrow. You can check out who is there you already know via their recent check-ins and posts, whatever social network they are on.

This looks like it might be a masterstroke from Banjo. The idea of location always being about where YOU are has become a commodity. Location in terms of what is happening in the rest of the world – and more importantly, where you might want to go next – is a bigger opportunity and introduces ‘intent’ into the equation, something which is far more monetizable than what is around you right now, whether it be in terms of straight targeted advertising or offers.

The startup now claims to have 3 million users of the app and be available to over 400 million people because of its social graph integration.

Banjo says the new features include:

● Connect with Friends: Receive notifications when friends are nearby, discover and explore the places they are anywhere in the world and in real time.

● Discover Common Connections: Banjo makes the world a smaller place. See how your friends connect you to their friends across the largest social networks and channels.

● Personalized Places: Banjo creates personalized places based on where your friends and common connections are in the world right now.

● Search by interest: Search any place to see what’s happening, then filter by keyword to dive deeper into the conversations that matter to you.