Did you know that the GPS on your phone, the one you use for calling cabs or tracking your dog used to be a top-secret military technology until quite recently? And contrary to popular belief, GPS isn’t a new technology either. It’s been around for almost 40 years but it is only in the last decade that it’s became a staple for mobile solutions and has virtually created entirely new industries. If you just look at the broad variety of services GPS has enabled and refined over the last years, you can grasp the true extent of its impact.
And to be clear, when we say “variety”, we aren’t just referring to the large number of mobile applications that use GPS but also the immense diversity in the services they provide. Essentially, the technology you use for ordering a pizza through UberEats is same you use for finding romantic partners on Tinder. The point is, location-based services have become so ingrained in mobile solutions that you might be using many of them without even realizing it. Here are 5 key location-based services- each with numerous applications that can easily be spotted any smartphone:
These were one of the first kinds of location-based services that hit the consumer space after GPS was opened to public use. These services detect user’s location and show requested information about their locality. Be it finding restaurants, tourist attractions, or nearby gas stations, there are numerous applications that deliver such services. Foursquare was one of the first applications of such kind while these days, most of these features are integrated into Google Maps itself.
This is currently the hottest segment in location-based services that has virtually opened up a new category of services referred to as “on-demand services”. The process is very simple- users open their app à the app detects their location à they request a service to that location. Those services can range from calling a cab or ordering food to requesting for laundry or a massage. The entire cab industry, food delivery, and virtually all on-demand applications fall into this category.
With each smartphone having inbuilt GPS, the dynamics of socializing has changed drastically. One of the key segments that location-based services have completely overhauled is the dating platforms. Instead of relying on users to provide their information and offering a fixed number of matches, these services access user’s location consistently to offer them new matches in their locality everywhere they move. Also, the advent of “check-ins” and leaving reviews for all the places they visit has shaped how people share their opinions and their activities.
Be it tracking your lost phone, your pet with a tracking collar, or your car with an inbuilt tracker, there is a whole range of location-based services apps help users know exactly where their belongings are. Even the features of tracking your cab or food delivery when en-route can be considered a part of these services.
It’s only recently that the potential of location-based services have been explored in the gaming segment and the results have been quite encouraging. While the longtime popular applications like Geoguesser do seem to be based on LBS, they really are not. It is the applications like Ingress or the Pokemon Go that access user’s live location and then superimposes a virtual world on that real framework.
Overall, there is hardly any category of app that doesn’t require location-based services. Even the ones that don’t explicitly need it, still ask for location permissions to filter their content. And as the technology has proliferated, building them has become quicker and cheaper. In fact, in top markets like the app development companies in India deliver highly sophisticated applications at a fraction of western markets. It is this mix of its inherent benefits coupled with inexpensive development that has brought the once coveted location-based services to everyone.