Update: Got in touch with uLocate on some of my questions; here’s the rest of the story:
(1) The apps listed on the about page are “home grown.”
(2) “With today’s announcement, we launched widgets from Eventful, Pubwalk, and yes, Zillow. These are all 3rd party widgets developed using their APIs.” So, one blogger was confused when stating “Apparently the WHERE platform incorporate Zillow’s API.”
(3) There is rev sharing with LBS providers who port to WHERE. “We will rev share to folks that develop to the WHERE platform and deliver subscribers.” Strange that wasn’t in the PR or on the developer site.
(4) When developers chose to support WHERE they can choose to use their existing mapping backend (Google Maps, say) or instead will be calling (via WHERE) uLocate’s own mapping and routing backend (MapQuest). If they do the latter, the apps will behave and look different beyond being on a small screen. Zillow, for example, won’t have its pretty images from GlobeXplorer.
(5) The Raj Singh noted for PubWalk in the press release is not the one from OGC. He’s another one.
—- original article—
The Boston Globe pointed me to the new offering from uLocate, a company outside Boston known for its tracking tools for GPS-enabled cell phones. WHERE is a platform for making LBS easily addable to a mobile devide as I understand it (the Globe called it a GPS widget, so I had no idea if it was hardware or software…)
Per MobileCrunch, if you’ve got an app suitable for mobiles (like say Zillow.com) you do a bit of Ruby/PHP programming using the development tools to make it WHERE accessible. The developer program is free. End users simply choose from a list of offerings after downloading the WHERE app to their phone. No, I couldn’t find a list of app offered, but there is this generic one on the WHERE about page.
Business model you ask? WHERE is $2.99/month for end users and runs on some Sprint phones. uLocate gets those with apps to build them into WHERE widgets, that means essentially free content for the platform.
The technology for WHERE also underlies Helio’s Beacon Buddy and MapQuest’s Find Me.