Startup Review: GeoBuzz

Yesterday, I reviewed, a Madison-based startup that launched earlier this week.  Today, I’m looking at GeoBuzz, a new product by the Madison-based startup PerBlue.  PerBlue was founded by a few UW students last year and already have had some good success with its mobile device, location based MMORPG Parallel Kingdom.

GeoBuzz is a really cool idea.  It allows you to post Buzzes, or messages similar to tweets on Twitter, to its platform that is visible t the people with the GeoBuzz application the area around you.  From their website:

GeoBuzz is a location-based, cross platform chat application that puts you in touch with the people around your geographic location. You can share thoughts on speakers or performances at live events, post restaurant specials, or get people together to meet.

All of what you see is narrowed down from people in your area. GeoBuzz brings back the idea of community and will help you connect with people that are literally around you. It is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, and Windows Mobile phones.

Forrest Woolworth, head of the GeoBuzz project, says that the goal is to bring people together in their own community.  “The internet has allowed people to connect instantly with others all around the globe, but it has pretty much ignored local connections.  GeoBuzz aims to change that and connect people, via social media, to others in their own community.”  You can follow their trials and tribulations on their blog, here.

GeoBuzz is especially innovative because it is cross-platform, meaning that the GeoBuzz application can be used across multiple mobile devices.  It brings together the fragmented mobile device market and allows all of these people to connect, regardless of their mobile device.  Its similar to Twitter, but location based and is divided into multiple channels where people can organize events, check out bar atmospheres before going and “live buzz” local event.  Its a really cool idea, and will be interesting to see how they promote it and expand to more users, as there is huge room for innovation with their platform.

I was also struck by how GeoBuzz could be used in the recent Iranian protests after the elections.  I wrote about the role of social media and the new media’s response to the unrest compared to the traditional media in previous posts and was thinking about how GeoBuzz or a service like it, could have been used to organize protests, disseminate information and show safe and unsafe areas.  The protestors could have buzzed about friendly locations, where riot police and basij were most angry and allowed people another outlet to connect.  Most likely, the regime would have tried to block a service like GeoBuzz from the start, but it would have been interesting to see.  As GeoBuzz and others catch on, and I believe they will, it will be interesting to see what they are used for.   I think it can be used like Twitter, but for more real time, location based information that can turn into action more quickly.

What do you think?  Would you use GeoBuzz?  What would you Buzz about and what situations would GeoBuzz be most useful to you?