Facebook Places is still virgin territory for most users, let alone developers and businesses. So how do you get the most out of a service that few people have really figured out how to use?
Geo-social aggregator Hotlist thinks that by combining data from Facebook Places, Twitter, Google Maps and Yelp, users can actually get a lot more value out of their checkins. Its app shows the popularity of nearby events and venues, whether or not your friends are there, the male-female ratio at a given spot, and recent Yelp reviews and Twitter posts for any location you might want to hit up.
It’s one of the first Facebook Places API integrations we’ve seen, and it’s doing a pretty thorough job of combining a ton of unstructured (from the user’s perspective) data into truly useful tidbits of actionable information.
For an on-the-go-oriented application, it helps to have a strong suite of mobile apps. While we’re still waiting for an Android app or a BlackBerry mobile offering, Hotlist does have an iPhone app [iTunes link] available for download now.
As you can see from the site’s interface, there’s a lot of available data out there, and Hotlist does a decent job of pulling it all in. It has the ability to show you where your Facebook friends are currently checked in, and it can post back to Facebook about your intended excursions in the future, which is a nice traffic-driving mechanism for the site.
We weren’t able to test out the iPhone app, but of this we’re certain: Twitter, Facebook and Yelp already exist online, and they’re doing just fine. Where Hotlist stands to win is in the mobile arena. A truly excellent set of mobile apps — not just an iPhone application — can make the difference between an also-ran in the location market and a truly useful and sticky app with a long runway.
What do you think of Hotlist, both the site and the iPhone app? Let us know your opinions in the comments.