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This article was published on November 25, 2011

LocalUncle says ‘Screw Google’, ask humans instead

LocalUncle says ‘Screw Google’, ask humans instead
Drew Olanoff
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Drew Olanoff

Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

Even though foursquare lets you leave tips about popular restaurants and attractions, you’re more than likely only going to see the tips once you’ve checked in.

LocalUncle for iOS sits on top of foursquare’s API and lets you ask the community questions about the locations around you before you get there. The app promises to get your question to those at the actual location, or those who have been there before.

The idea behind the app is that if you’re on your way to say, an Apple store, you could ask someone who’s already there or is familiar with the location, how long the lines can get. Something like this could save you a bit of time, and cancel out the need to call the actual location.

How’s the line at Wal-Mart right now?

Once you use the app, you’ll understand why it can be useful. You’ll see a stream of the latest questions as soon as you open the app and login with your foursquare credentials. If you’d like to see questions about places close to you, just tap the “Nearby” button.

Asking a question is quite simple, and since the app uses foursquare’s API, you’ll be familiar with the locations that LocalUncle displays based on where you are. You can ask any question, and it will be sent out to the app’s community via the public stream, and as push notifications to anyone who is currently checked in there or has been there recently.

Notice the line, “Screw Google, We Ask Humans”. Interesting and extremely agressive of LocalUncle, but does it work?

Excuse me, I have a question

While as of this writing, my question about Osha Thai hasn’t been answered, I almost immediately received two push notifications asking me questions about locations I had been to today. That’s pretty fast, and since it’s easy to reply, LocalUncle could become pretty sticky and addictive.

The app is a great idea to get useful information from a community that is crazy about foursquare. While people are getting better at leaving useful tips on the foursquare platform itself, I always find myself wondering what a WiFi password is for a local coffee place, or whether a certain restaurant has a private lounge.

Whether you actually use the app or not will of course rely on you getting answers to your most pressing questions, so LocalUncle is definitely worth a try. It’s certainly a feature that I’d love to see foursquare integrate into its own experience. Waiting for someone to leave a tip just leaves you full of questions after all.


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