Today Boulder, CO-based Tagwhat, billed as a “mobile tour guide for the world,” announced new publishing tools to help tie digital content to physical places, and debuted push notifications to notify Android and iPhone users of nearby attractions. The mobile app serves as a virtual tour guide for users by providing a steady stream of online content that is relevant to their physical location and their surroundings.
The launch of the two new features are meant to further Tagwhat’s goal to take the massive amounts of content available on the web that’s not geo-tagged and to use crowdsourcing, sources like Wikipedia, and third-party partners to fill in the gaps. ”Our mission is to associate digital with the real world. It’s largely because people are curious about where they are, where they’re going. However, services to date have been limited to the basics, where’s the nearest bank, nearest ATM, or the Tweets around me,” founder and CEO Dave Elchoness said in an interview. “Or if you’re at a point you find interesting, you might spend the time to research and Google and hope that you get something that satisfies your curiosity or your query.”
The process starts with a Pinterest-style ‘Tag It’ browser plugin that lets users, businesses and partners like tourism boards geo-tag text, photos, and video content and add it to a variety of designated channels, like Arts, Science & Tech, and Food. Local and small businesses can also add their Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare streams to provide real-time content consumption to engage potential customers as they pass by their location. Tagwhat optimizes the content for mobile consumption, for example showing a Wikipedia article, relevant YouTube videos, and other user-generated content near a tourist attraction.
The push notification feature allows users to get alerts about content on their preferred channels like Heritage, Music, and Sports, wherever they happen to be. Another feature which could prove to be a favorite among travelers is the ability to put either a physical location or restaurant or tourist site on a “Want to Go” list, which they will be alerted of as they are actually traveling and passing through the location.
Tagwhat is looking to close the increasing gap between the amount of content that organizations and businesses are creating on the web, and the ways that content can reach the target audience at the right time and right place. The company is currently monetizing its technology by creating branded channels for organizations like universities, heritage associations, and tourist sites that have lots of local content but no way to accurately deliver it to visitors.
“All of these are great ways to attach commercial opportunity to digital content in a way that hasn’t been done before. We’re used to content marketing, but we’re not yet used to content marketing in the context of mobile at a location, and the reason is that there wasn’t an easy way to discover content at a location or share based on location,” Elchoness said. “We want to make content easily accessible at the place so people can engage in that immersive rich media discovery experience, and small businesses are always looking for foot traffic, and what better way to move through that goal than to engage people with your content marketing effort at or near your location.”
Many other companies are also looking to tie a user’s smartphone to interesting local content. Trover, which recently launched a desktop companion to its photo-sharing platform, is aiming to eventually provide an ad platform for highly customized promotions. Other services like Banjo let users tune into the social media activity close to a user’s current location, and apps like Saga notify users about interesting local businesses based on their interests. However, where Tagwhat may stand apart is its mission to organize online content into a more accessible and relevant way, both for businesses looking for ways to deliver their content, and for users looking for relevant local content.
Soon the self-funded company will look to integrate with companies like Amazon, Netflix, and OpenTable to give users access to relevent products, movies, and restaurants close by. It will also look to expand its list of clients that have their own branded channels. The company has a big goal, and one that will require a solid base of users and businesses to be realized. Whether it’s used specifically for travel or as a way to augment anyone’s local experience, tying local online content to mobile users will be a nut local businesses will definitely want to crack.