Skyhook Enables Any App to Become 'Local' (and More Social)

Skyhook Wireless this morning announced a new developer SDK that enables anyone to add location to their content and apps. According to Skyhook there are roughly 8,000 location-enabled apps in the iTunes store, out of roughly 160,000 total. Since its business is about location and local is the "heart of mobile," the company wants to further enable developers to add location in a painless way.

Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan also makes an interesting argument that location is a kind of "gateway to community." Morgan believes that learning about what people around you think is valuable or interesting can help these apps build community and loyalty. Location becomes a basis for community because it makes abstract ideas and content such as news, photos, music more concrete in a local or offline context. Location offers a shared circumstance or experience that can enable people to discover and connect with one another. 

To that end Shyhook has created a "Local Favs" SDK. According to the press release: 

Local Faves helps developers create engaging communities within apps, driving user loyalty and more opportunities for monetization. In a Local Faves-enabled iPhone wine app, users could check-in to a restaurant via the wine they’re drinking, giving the wine app developer the opportunity to directly broadcast user location. Local Faves features fully customizable content tagging, allowing users to indicate that that they loved, hated,  ‘favorited’, saw, or read a piece of content within an app, and enables sharing of this content, and exactly where it was experienced, via Facebook and Twitter.

Morgan demo'd the functionality with a dummy app the company had created around drinks. They took the Esquire drinks database and created a very slick iPhone app around it. The idea is that users identify where they consumed, say, a Pina Colada or a Cosmopolitan or Sex on the Beach, etc. The location is captured and can be shared socially: I'm in Manhattan and just had a Martini . . .

Over time, you'd get a sense of the favorite alcoholic beverages in different areas of the country: Boston likes Scotch while Oregonians like beer -- hypothetically. 

Skyhook's SDK provides all the pages and functionality, making it very easy for developers to plug in these local and social features. Because of that and the fact that it's all free, it's a missed opportunity not to use this.