A couple posts ago I wrote about my rather disappointing first experience with Yobongo. Yesterday I saw that Robert Scoble unleashed a rant about how terrible his first experience with the also-hyped app Color was.This led me to check out what Color was about and it got me thinking about what the trends and factors are that are helping to feed the hype machines for, and in the case of the bubbleiciously well-funded Color, lining the pockets of, these two startups.
After a while it came to me that these two startups are tapping into the same three things. Local. Ad-hoc. Relevant.
Yobongo is mobile group chat tied to your city. It's local. It's ad-hoc because the participants come and go as they please. And it's supposed to provide you with relevant information (e.g. What's the best place to eat downtown?) from locals who know.
Color is local. You pair up with nearby people in what they call a "moving social network." It's ad-hoc because your network can change as you move from place to place. And it's relevant because the videos and pictures you and your network are taking are of the same thing at the same time in the same place (just from a different perspective.) The scenario that exemplifies this the best is a concert or sporting event. You could be creating a stream or album of pictures and video from the event taken from all sort of different views (up in the luxury box, down on the first base line, behind the catcher, etc.) Heck, you might even see yourself in some strangers photo (so behave!)
Local. Ad-hoc. Relevant. A pretty compelling trio even if you aren't fans of the two apps listed above. My next thought was that there are a ton of successful web companies out there right now that have two of these things, but not all three.
Groupon: Local, Relevant.
Foursquare: Local, Relevant, (kind of ad-hoc, but they could add some functionality here)
Twitter: Relevant, with some ad-hoc if you're searching, and some local stuff if you're narrowing in on tweets in a particular location.
So are we going to see more apps converging around the concepts of local, ad-hoc, and relevant? Is there room to innovate here? What is the NEXT thing once people get all three?