Link Boxers: Geolocation, Google and Zagat, Hackathon

As school starts, the leaves turn and our thoughts point to how we can get more #GirlsUnderTrees on our web sites, there have been some keen techy nuggets floating around the news wires. For instance:

photo courtesy of urban don@flickr

Maybe They’re All Just Emailing Each Other Instead

A survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reports that only five percent of adult cell phone users are checking in to locations via a service like Foursquare or Gowalla. The number goes up to 12 percent among smartphone users. More than half of smart phone users are using a location-based service to get directions or recommendations. And the number of smartphone users who check-in with such services is highest among younger users and Latino users, the survey reports. Given Foursquare’s focus on the higher ed market, perhaps that’s not a surprising figure. But it does seem that location-based check-in services have a ways to go before they catch up with the penetration of other social media platforms.

Google Finds that Zagat Rates… A Purchase

It’s hard to make it through an edition of Boxers without mentioned something that our Google overlords did and, well, this month is no different. Google snatched up Zagat recently, in an effort, the people who know such things say, to bolster their Places offering, after striking out with Yelp a few years back. And while the Zagat name carries cachet for the restaurant set, it will be interesting to see if Google can broaden that appeal and if it will play to college students at all  (you know — the ones with only $5 in quarters in their pockets who could likely give a hoot about whether Andrew LLoyd Weber considers Zagat’s his Bible or not). Will we soon see the Zagat name used to tell us how good a local bookstore, laundromat or farmers’ market is? That remains to be seen.

Disrupt HackathonHack All the Things

TechCrunch has a truck-full of coverage of the 2011 Disrupt SF Hackathon that concluded earlier this week. Feel free to pick your own favorites from the more than 130 projects thrown together in just about 24 hours, but allow us to share a few that struck our fancy:

  • Weather Checker – “A mashup of Weather Underground and Google Calendar,” says Techcrunch. “Automatically scans your calendar for upcoming events, and alerts you if the weather forecast for those days has turned for the worse.”
  • AirCart: Use your smart phone’s barcode scanner to turn it into a self-checkout device. No more waiting in lines.
  • Let’s Drink Tonight: “Punch in your cell phone, answer a few questions, and it’ll alert you when others nearby are looking for strangers to drink with.” Sounds like a less social #HEWeb conference.