There are three things that often intersect in the lives of industrious tech driven people: Information, Mobile Gadgets, and Travel. RADAR, a new iPhone application from the people who brought you Outside.In, the geolocation news service tries to bridge all these things in the palm of your hand. The concept behind RADAR is fairly simple, but the app offers a unique service that takes advantage of the iPhone's built in GPS. Let's say you're in a new city and you are looking for news, events, etc? Start the app up, and you'll have the option of searching for recent articles based on the perimeter you select. In the case of Chicago, users can search for news within 1000 Feet, particular neighborhoods in your city, or the entire Metro area. The app is $2.99 and can be purchased here.
The Chicago Tech Report Team reached out to John Geraci, founder of Outside.in to chat a bit more about their new mobile application.
CTR: There's a lot of competition and overlap in the iPhone application market for news and information resources. What did your team set out to build in order to differentiate RADAR from its competitors, especially in terms of local news.
JG: We didn't so much set out to differentiate our iPhone app from other local news apps out there, as much as Outside.in just has a different approach to local news altogether, and that informed our iPhone app. A core belief underlying all of Outside.in is that news close to you matters, is interesting and important. Our RADAR iPhone app takes that idea to its logical conclusion, by providing you literally with the news right around you - within 1000 feet of your current location. Or, if you want to zoom out a bit, the news in the neighborhood you're currently in. Our iPhone app puts you at the center of the map and serves up the news around that point. That's a pretty new and different way to get the news than other sources offer - it allows you to "browse" the local area right around you for news stories. We think that will be a pretty compelling experience on mobile phones.
CTR: How were sources chosen for RADAR? In Chicago for example, much of the news seems to come from Flavorpill, Chicagoist, and CultureMob. Were blogs/news sites picked on specific focuses?
JG: The sources in the RADAR app are the sources that Outside.in is geotagging, so whoever is writing about a particular neighborhood in Chicago right now is going to appear in your Radar when you're there. Flavorpill, Chicagoist et al are high-volume content producers, so you may see multiple stories from them, but there are many, many other sources in there as well, from local Chicago bloggers up to the big Chicago daily papers. You will also find Twitter tweets and Yelp reviews in the mix.
CTR: RADAR has had a strong start but many have noted there is a lot more that the app can and should do. What kind of plans can people expect for future updates?
JG: This is definitely a 1.0 launch of the product, just the basic platform without any bells or whistles. But once you start thinking in terms of geo-located news, mapped, on a mobile phone, with the user at the center point, there are lots of ways you can go from there to build on that platform and get a richer user experience. We will definitely be doing that in the near future, with our iPhone app and also with the Outside.in website itself, as well as with the maps that are appearing on our growing list of business partners. Radar is the platform, and the number of ways you can build on top of that platform are huge.
CTR: Anything else you would like to share? Especially if it is relevant on a local level?
JG: Maybe just to say that if your readers have blogs and would like to see their content in RADAR in Chicago, they can sign up for Outside.in's GeoToolkit, which will geotag their blog posts automatically, give them Radar-like maps to put on their blogs, and get their stories into our RADAR iPhone app.