One of the greatest benefits of the proliferation of social networks like Facebook and Twitter is that they give you a place to ask for assistance from your friends and acquaintances and help them in return. Localhero, a new app for the iPhone released on Monday, takes that idea and runs with it.
Localhero is a beautifully designed and free location-based social networking app that lets you make requests for help on specific topics and then finds people you know, or even ones you don’t know but are experts on that topic, who can lend you assistance. It also lets you lend a helping hand to others who need it.
The app connects to your Facebook account to sign you up and to check if any of your friends are on Localhero. It also scans through your profile and posts to make a list of your skills—so if you spend a lot of time talking about being drunk, expect a lot of requests from friends looking for someone to take them to a bar.
Once that is out of the way, you can scan through the list of requests being made in your vicinity. Since the app is very new right now, don’t expect to see much activity on your feed, but feel free to go ahead and make a request of your own. You can ask your question, assign a picture to it, specify which part of the world it should focus on, add a set of relevant skills and decide whether you want it to be shared with just your friends or anyone within the Localhero network.
I asked a couple of questions and the app informed me on both occasions that it had found some heroes who may be interested in helping me out, but I never received any responses. None of my friends are currently on it and I saw no activity whatsoever in my feed. Strangely, it also does not post your request to your Facebook and Twitter streams even when you specifically request it to.
That’s what we have: an app with a lovely UI and an interesting idea that has the potential to do great, but one that is seriously hobbled by its current lack of users. However, Localhero has been out for only a single day now and we expect that it’ll come into its own once people starting signing up on the service, specially as it moves on to other platforms like Android, as planned. We’ll definitely be rooting for its success.
[Localhero is available on the App Store for free and is compatible with all iPhones running iOS 4.0 or later. It is not a universal app.]