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Mon 31 Oct 2011 03:39 PM

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Aussie firm unveils app to show what’s happening nearby

Roamz app pools data from Twitter, Facebook to show what’s going on at local venues

Aussie firm unveils app to show what’s happening nearby
The iPhone app aggregates data from social networks around a particular location

Instead
of checking the local newspaper or social networks, a new app takes the
guesswork out of finding local events and what is happening nearby.

Called
Roamz, the app aggregates data from social networks around a particular
location to provide information about what is happening at venues in the area.

Roamz
founder and CEO Jonathan Barouch said the explosion of social content on social
networks such as Twitter does completely address the issue.

"Say
I'm walking down the road in Sydney and there's a noodle market going on in Hyde
Park. How do I find out about that? Unless I'm following someone on Twitter or
Foursquare I'm going to miss it," said Barouch.

The app
gathers public data from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram about a
particular location into a feed tailored to a user's interests, chosen from ten
categories ranging from child or pet friendly activities, to restaurants,
attractions, shopping and nightlife.

"Our
vision was to sift through those millions of posts and pieces of content and
work out the signals that are actually relevant to the user at the time they're
relevant," Barouch explained.

Using
artificial intelligence the app gets smarter as it learns how a user rates
particular venues and the types of content uploaded or frequently viewed. It
uses this information to refine the data being presented.

Launched
at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week, the app has already received
8000 downloads. But there are still kinks to be worked out.

"We
launched as any good startup should probably -- a bit earlier than we could
have," said Barouch. "We could have spent another six or eight months
building it."

The
company plans to increase the amount of content available, which is currently
sparse in some areas. While densely populated areas such as Manhattan have
content from hours or even minutes ago, other cities like Perth in Australia tend
to have less recent content.

"We
already have more data than we know what to do with. It's about us mining the
data that we've got a little bit better," said Barouch.

He added
that content is being filtered out conservatively to ensure that data in the
app is relevant. The company is also planning to improve the intelligence of
the app.

"If
we notice that you're going to a coffee shop everyday at 11 AM, and you open up
Roamz at 10:30 AM, we should be smart enough to start showing you activity
being discussed at coffee shops nearby."

The
startup, in Sydney, Australia eventually plans to enable users to purchase and
redeem tickets for an event discovered on Roamz within the app.

Although
there are many location-based apps for finding venues nearby, Barouch thinks
there is room for Roamz.

"People
are getting tired of opening five or six different apps. And even when you do,
you're only seeing what your friends are doing - not what everyone else is
doing", he said.

The free
app is available for iPhone on the iTunes store.

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