A couple months ago, we wrote about SocialGreat, a cool service that uses Foursquare’s location APIs to determine the hot places that people are hanging out at. It’s a good idea, but it’s limited to Foursquare data [update below], which is still a relatively small service. Buzzd, on the other hand, pulls its data from Twitter and other Buzzd users, for a bigger picture of places that are hot.
With Buzzd, which is launching its free iPhone app today, you simply load the program and it will bring up a list of venues close to you that are currently popular based on people talking about them on Twitter and Buzzd. It also uses some location data pulled from Twitter. Right now, that data is pulled from users’s Twitter profiles, so it is imprecise, but with the Geolocation API (which may be sort of live already) that will soon change.
If you click on a place, you can learn more about it, including how far away it is, its phone number, and a description of it. You can also see “buzzes” about it, meaning the things people are saying about a place on Twitter and in the Buzzd community. And you can “Buzz It,” meaning you can tell the community you are at a place and give a short description of what it is or why it’s good. And you can send that info to Twitter.
To do all of that, you have to create an account on Buzzd and sign-in, but one nice thing about the service is that you can see all of this data without ever creating an account. If you really don’t care about buzzing data yourself, you can simply use it passively.
There is certainly an upside to using data that is purely location-based, as it is with SocialGreat, but until location-based services truly take off, services with a lower barrier to entry, like Twitter, are going to have much more data to offer up. And you can clearly see that with Buzzd.
Buzzd has actually been around for a little while, but it has mainly existed on the mobile web and as an app on the BlackBerry. There’s a good reason for this: It was one of the original BlackBerry Partners Fund receipients. But the lure of the iPhone proved too strong, and after one meek attempt at an app, this new version of Buzzd looks like the real deal. It’s not a complex app, but it’s good for what it does.
Last month, the service had 500,000 active user over the web and its BlackBerry app, we’re told. Those numbers should undoubtedly jump with this new iPhone app. As it gains users, you can imagine them doing slightly more interesting things such as allowing users to say if a venue is good or bad, rather than just if they are there or not.
The business model will revolve around advertising, but the company is doing some interesting things in terms of striking deals with some locations to get their places featured.
You can find Buzzd here in the App Store. Again, it is a free download.
Update: We originally had said that SocialGreat only pulls in Foursquare data, but it now pulls in more, including data from Brightkite and GraffitiGeo. Still no Twitter data yet (the big source), but you can imagine that when Geolocation is ready, they may just do that.