Last night I attended the TriOut launch party at RTP headquarters. Needless to say there was a great turnout and incredible energy and excitement to see what new features would be announced. I was very interested in seeing what would make TriOut different from other location based apps like Foursquare, Brightkite, etc. Also I think many of the attendees including myself were very proud of Lawrence Ingraham @lawpower and his team of Triangle locals that created, tested and marketed the application over the past few months.
After Wayne Sutton @waynesutton welcomed everyone and did a brief overview of the event, Lawrence did a nice review of the web site www.trioutnc.com. Lawrence stated that his desire to create TriOut stemmed from the fact that he noticed many Twitter users posting photos of events and locations but felt that there was no connection and the data was being lost beyond the immediate moment. Therefore he created an better iPhone application and accompanying web site to take location based data and build a community to share the data and information.
Since the initial launch of the iPhone app in October 2009, more than 200 users have registered and 2,200 locations have been added. Additionally more than 1,600 reviews and 900 photos have been uploaded and stored to share with Triangle residents. One of the more interesting features that Lawrence described was the Popular feature. He explained how the Popular ranking was based on more than just reviews and took into consideration user ratings, number of visits and frequency of visits to generate a more well-rounded ranking. This is very unique in that many sites just look at a single feature to build rankings versus looking at a broader scope.
Another interesting feature Lawrence described was privacy which was the topic of the day on Twitter with the chatter about a new site posting geolocation updates with a message that it’s OK to rob their home because they have checked in elsewhere. I will not post the name of the site as I think it’s in poor taste and do not want to be linked or associated with anyone having their home security violated. Anyway Lawrence state that TriOut privacy is opt-in versus opt-out and allows users to determine if they want to broadcast their check ins on Twitter, Facebook and even Foursquare.
My takeaway from the event was that TriOut had succeeded in creating something unique in building a community that goes beyond basic geolocation service, competitive points accumulation and tips. With plans announced for devices beyond the iPhone, TriOut has the ability to connect Triangle residents in a new and unique way to share their collective experiences around events and locations.