Boston (MA) – Finding your way on the iPhone is a breeze now that Apple’s deployed
their enhanced Maps application, complete with directions and other bells and whistles. But it also left us wondering why they didn’t enhance it with a news
discovery feature so we could easily find the latest buzz
surrounding us? Enter Radar, a new iPhone application that taps
Outside.in’s premium location-based news content to deliver relevant
news and real time discussions based on your current city,
neighborhood or within up to 1,000 feet of your current location. It is
the Maps’ missing killer feature that greatly raises the standard for
location-based applications you can find today at the App Store.
When the iPhone 3G came out, the addition of GPS hardware
slipped under the radar in favor of other features that made headlines. These included support for faster 3G cellular networks and official
third-party applications through the App Store. Although even
first-generation iPhones had location-based features that enabled
applications like the built-in Maps to pinpoint a user’s location through the
combined cellular tower triangulation and Wi-Fi data, iPhone 3G brought
a much needed accuracy that only a dedicated GPS circuitry allows.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that many developers enhanced their
applications with location-based features. In addition, dozens have exploited geopositioning as their main feature, especially in various
location-based social applications. But few of them have managed to
pair accurate positioning with premium content tailored to the user’s
current location – the way Outside.in’s new Radar application recently
posted into the App Store does.
Radar taps Outside.in’s rich location-based news content to deliver all
the news and real time discussions within up to 1,000 feet of the
iPhone’s location. Outside.in’s technology tracks web news,
blogs and discussions and dynamically maps it to real-life locations. The company’s GeoToolkit gives content creators tools to deploy
localized content across Outside.in’s network.
“Radar for iPhone lets you walk the streets of your city and see the
real time news and discussion right around you,” said Outside.in’s CEO
Mark Josephson. “Radar on the iPhone is the first application to truly
deliver on a personalized local news experience.”
The application displays news and social content including news stories, blog
posts, discussion threads and Twitter tweets. Icons at the bottom allow
you to switch between stories relevant to an entire city, just the
surrounding neighborhood or within 1,000 feet of your current location. To
jump to a map that shows buzz surrounding you, simply shake the
Radar gets user’s current position via iPhone’s location-based features
obtained via combined GPS, cellular towers triangulation and Wi-Fi
data, which allows even first-generation iPhone owners to enjoy content
tailored to their rough location. A handy profiles feature allow you to set up
profiles for your home and work, making the switch between the two very easy.
The only major drawback is the fact that the content offered for
now is limited to just the U.S.
Another helpful feature in Radar is how separate pages are dedicated to each place in
your neighborhood. This eases the discovery of a nearby restaurant,
for example, or that blog post about an on-going heated debate in your community, or
even to track nearby crimes. Of course, it isn’t perfect and at times you
will resort to a Google search to find very specific information. But
if you need to quickly find your way around your surroundings, get in
touch with the latest relevant news and find stuff like businesses
around you, Radar will do the job.
We often find ourselves wondering why Apple did not enhance the
built-in Maps application with premium local content in addition to
the stuff it obtains from Google and Yahoo, opting instead for third parties to provide it via applications like Radar. Until someone in Cupertino
decides to build Radar’s functionality into Maps, this application will
save users lots of time finding the content which matters most to you. We have
found the $2.99 a small price to pay for the aforementioned luxuries.