Last year, it was all about messaging apps like GroupMe at SXSW in Austin.The year before that, location-based check-in apps like Foursquare and the now-dead Gowalla.
This year, we’re back to location. The hype surrounds a new wave of geo-location apps that allow strangers to meet new people with similar interests.
Also, if one of your Facebook friends is nearby, these apps ping you to let you know.
Keep reading to check out the hottest location apps at SXSW.
The most popular of all location-based social networking apps at the moment is Highlight, which caught the attention of many investors, including Michael Arrington's CrunchFund. The app lets you meet people based on similar interests and your location.
Even our own Alyson Shontell said she deleted what she thought was a creepy app only to realise she needed it back to meet more people in the tech industry at SXSW.
The idea for Banjo came after the app's founder Damien Patton reconnected with an old friend when he realised their tweets indicated they were gates away from each other while waiting for their flights at the same airport. You can visit the official site to try the web-based version to see who you can find in your neighbourhood.
Gauss uses your Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare information to pull in people you might be interested in meeting based on your 'magnet' settings. Keep a list of things you want to meet people for and the app will notify you of new social profiles to discover.
If you're lazy about writing your own profiles, Kismet will import your information from other apps you use to aggregate all there is to know about you into one, condensed place. You can chat and set up meetings with random people you're interested in seeing in real life.
Mingle is currently available in San Francisco and New York City, and is aimed particularly at those who are looking for love in their city. You can attempt to score dates by searching nearby bars and restaurants to see who else might be interested in meeting up.
Pearescope focuses more on networking with people you might already know by introducing friends to other mutual friends. You can visit the official site to 'scope' out who's met whom through which common friend, or at least use the app as an ice breaker with someone you've been dying to meet.
Qrious is a bit more business-oriented, with the integration of Eventbrite and Excel to help people keep track of those who attended their meetings and events. The app is also useful for when you meet someone at a business party and didn't get a chance to take down their contact information.
The app is currently not available for download, but you can contact the developers for a free demo.
You can check into places on Sonar, which allows you to communicate with people in the same location or tweet at someone about where you are and why you're there. Of course, like all other social networking apps, Sonar compares mutual interests and friends of people in the same room.
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