Location-based social network Geomium is getting an official UK roll out today, having launched in London-only last month. Although in actual fact, the GPS-powered app is accessible from anywhere, it’s just the amount of supported local information that differs. The UK startup also says that it’s seen more than 100,000 downloads of the Geomium iPhone app since launch and that the early signs are that users are relaxed about sharing their location.
Geomium lets users connect with friends, meet new people and find bars, restaurants etc. as well as deals and events in their local area. Aiming to be a sort of ‘Foursquare for the rest us’, although Facebook Places could fill that void, the service is supported by and aggregates data from Yelp, Qype and Eventful, putting the user and their location at the centre of the app rather than one specific data set or use-case scenario. Additionally, Geomium shuns the gaming metrics of other location-based services.
“Does anyone really care about being crowned mayor of somewhere?”, says Michael Ferguson, co-founder and CEO of Geomium. Instead, the app is focusing more on the utility in being able to stay in touch with friends via location and stay up to date with local nightlife.
An interesting footnote to that strategy is the way early users of Geomium are treating the issue of privacy. The service prompts users to set their privacy at registration and the default setting is for no one to be able to see their real time location. Yet around 75% of Geomium users to-date have actively chosen to have an open profile, according to the company.
“Privacy is massively important for any location-based service and we wanted to be completely upfront with our privacy settings as we realised that some people might not want to reveal their location online”, says Ferguson. “But for three-quarters of users to choose an open profile suggests that people are more open to the idea of sharing location that one might have thought.”
That’s especially interesting considering that the service has plenty of utility without the social aspect since it supports lots of locally relevant information either way.
Geomium has raised seed funding from London-based angel investors and is currently in the process of raising an A-round.