This article was published on September 5, 2010

CircleTie: Cairo’s Answer to Location-based Services

CircleTie: Cairo’s Answer to Location-based Services
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Embee is a digital marketing consultant for a Cairo-based Internet consultancy by day. A passionate techie by night who fiddles with web app Embee is a digital marketing consultant for a Cairo-based Internet consultancy by day. A passionate techie by night who fiddles with web applications, tinkers with web services, and follows tech-happenings in Cairo. Get in touch with her on Twitter, or email her.

Smiling Pharaoh  that has nothing what so ever to do with the application, but is quite smile inducing if I may sayUndeniably Cairo has lots of entertainment and outings to offer. With the dozens of new coffeehouses, restaurants, shops and malls opening, one can’t know all of them and know beforehand what their service is like, or what to expect on the menu. This is when CircleTie comes in.

CircleTie is Cairo’s answer to location-based services. It allows you to check-in at your favorite places through your smart phone, discover new places around you, and write reviews about or rate a place you’re currently at. I know what you’re thinking, this is the Arabic Yelp right here and you’re right about that, to some extent that is.

Although not the first location aware technology in the region, it certainly stands out. Firms like eSpace have developed a very similar platform called wenear that provides similar core location aware functionality to that provided by CircleTie.

Once you log in to CircleTie, you can discover what’s around you – search nearby places, check out the top-rated venues, or browse by categories or by district. You can also check out the news feed to see what your friends on CircleTie up to, and what do they have to say about places they’re at.

CircleTie screenshot

CircleTie is a truly social map; you can echo your check-ins to either Facebook or Twitter, and you can SMS any place’s details to your friends. For the upcoming releases of CircleTie, the ability to make reviews private will be made available, and more cities will be added.

Privacy is always a concern, especially in the Middle East; you can opt to add your friends on CircleTie through a PIN you receive upon registration. Moreover, the application is built to share privately with friends by default, so no one would check-in publicly by accident.

In comparison to Yelp‘s iPhone app, CircleTie offers a mixed experience. For one, Yelp offers more search criteria and filters, like opening hours and price. Yelp also has the option to bookmark venues for when you’re running out of new places to eat out, and enjoys the add-on of having a website where you can check-in your history, connect with friends, or just browse reviews. Even though you can’t add reviews from the app on Yelp, yet rating reviews is an important feature in the age of word-of-mouth marketing.

On the other hand, CircleTie has the advantage of adding reviews from within the app. For location-based services, versatile map management [panning out, zooming, directions] is a must – this is where CircleTie certainly wins over Yelp.

Having tried CircleTie on both Blackberry and iPhone, I find the iPhone app more sleek in design, and the ability to call venues from within the app, SMS details to friends, and the map integration is only available for the iPhone users. CircleTie for Blackberry, having come out before the iPhone app needs some attention to the app speed and Facebook integration.

iPhone and BlackBerry support for CircleTie make it available for most tech savvy users

Point your Blackberry browser here to download and install CircleTie, or find it on the iTunes Appstore.

CircleTie is the brainchild of omnicore Technologies, a Cairo-based technology services company, led by a team of 5 young ambitious entrepreneurs who are focused on enjoying Cairo to the max, while adding value to users and friends. From the looks of it, their products & services will be creating some buzz in the region really soon.

You know Cairo has lots of entertainment to offer; let CircleTie help you discover it.

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