There’s usually a central theme accompanying every SXSW, with this year’s theme undeniably being location-oriented mobile services. Beyond being a main topic of conversation, this year’s event is proving to be a battle ground for players in the location game large and small to duke it out.
Since Friday, over a dozen services have launched products or features centered around location, while Gowalla and Foursquare continue to battle it out in terms of who can garner the most check-ins during the festival, as well as who can report the largest numbers because of it. If one thing’s certain, it’s that 2010 is quickly shaping up to be the “year of location,” with SXSW being the official starting line.
With nearly every attendee utilizing Gowalla and Foursquare to check-in at nearly every location possible around Austin, both companies are rallying to post the largest numbers in hopes of topping the other. As TechCrunch points out though, the GPS check-in functionality of Gowalla, as opposed to Foursquare’s non-verification method, effects the numbers greatly. Still, Foursquare and Gowalla are basically in a statistical dead heat when it comes to SXSW.
Gowalla and Foursquare aren’t the only ones in the spotlight, numerous other services are debuting their offerings when it comes to location, with the most notable in my opinion being the “check.in” service soon to launch by Brightkite. Check.in is the first “unified check-in” app available, with support for Gowalla, Foursquare and Brightkite, providing a simple app that let’s users check-in to all their favorite services within the same interface. A service of this nature was bound to launch eventually, and Brightkite was smart in being the first to market.
Today and tomorrow will be heavy on location-oriented news coming out of SXSW, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted. You may remember three years ago when Twitter was the hot topic among early adopters at SXSW, so its likely a few new names will pop up that we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the near future. Stay tuned, much more to come.