Location Data Gets An Important New Layer: The Alcohol Layer

I’m not gonna lie — most of the venues I check-in to on apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt are bars. Most of the time I’m not there to have dinner either. Instead, I’m there to enjoy an adult beverage. Or three. So why not cut out the middlemen, and instead use a location-based app that flips the equation and focuses on the drinks themselves? That’s exactly what iSwig is. It’s perfect.

Humorously, the app was built by Skyhook Wireless, the service that’s one of the largest providers of geolocation data in the world. They’re smart. They know that most end users couldn’t care less about this data, they just want fun apps that utilize it. And that’s exactly what iSwig is.

The iPhone app is simple. You load it up and pick out the drink you happen to be enjoying. There are thousands of drinks in the database, from vague (bourbon) to specific (Redheaded Slut). Drinks are broken up into five categories: Liquor, Mixed, Shot, Beer, and Wine. Once you pick the drink you have, the next page locates you on a map, and asks if you’d like to tie yourself (or more specifically, your drink) to a venue. These venues come from both Skyhook’s data and Foursquare’s venue data. You can then leave a comment if you wish, choose to post it to Facebook and/or Twitter, and you’re set.

The app doesn’t even require that you sign-in (or have an account) to use it. You can choose to use a nickname or not. But if you want to, you can also hook it up to Facebook via Connect or to Twitter. You can also hook it up to the aforementioned Foursquare so that you can check-in when you’re drinking. And you can hook it up to Flickr as well for any photos you take of the drink. All of this optional integration is actually quite impressive.

A Home stream allows you to see all the activity by other users on iSwig. But you can also narrow it down to see just what people around you are drinking. And you can easily alter time to see all the way back to the last year of drinks around you, or “just now.” Plus, you can see what the top drinks are at any given time. This works on a global level, and all the way down to a 5 mile radius of where you currently are (it’s a sliding scale). For example, globally, Dewar’s is the drink of choice this past month, followed by Absolut and margaritas.

You can also see data broken down by individual drinks. For example, you can see a timeline of all those drinking whiskey recently. And you can see a leader board of the top drinkers of each drink. Awesome. And you can add any drink to your “faves.”

Again, all of this is just a way to showcase some of Skyhook’s huge amount of data (as well as get them another layer — the alcohol layer). And it’s meant to show just how easy it is to build an app on top of their data. But it’s an ingenious way. Skyhook says it took them just a couple of days to build this with their Local Faves social location SDK.

I’ve complained before about check-in fatigue — that there are simply too many location-based apps out there right now. Unfortunately, that usually stops me from using most of them regularly. But iSwig is one I’m definitely going to be using. If nothing else, it will help me remember where I was and what I was drinking last night.

You can find iSwig in the App Store here. It’s a free download.