Today more than ever, we use technology to announce the minutiae of our lives. Where we are, who we're with, what we're doing. We tweet about breakfast, check into places on Foursquare, write reviews about restaurants on Yelp while waiting for the check. Or at least, some of us do. If you're like me, maybe you've wondered what the heck all that information is good for. I mean, who really cares what you did for breakfast, or where you were at on Tuesday night?
While the endless stream of status updates might be annoying on a personal level, however, some companies have found that they provide a rich trove of data that can actually be quite useful. buzzd is one such example: the free app harnesses the power of the swarm, drinking in real-time data from Twitter, Loopt, Yelp, Foursquare, and many other sources and distilling it to figure out which nearby locations are most popular.
buzzd measures places with a "buzzdmeter," which tracks the "buzz" each location has received on various social networks. The app then checks your location, and shows you nearby places with the highest buzz. These can be restaurants, museums, or shops; in New York City, for example, the Museum of Modern Art was "buzzing."
buzzd claims that by rating places within the app, you earn "influence," which can then be applied towards rewards such as gift cards, plane tickets, and more. However, I couldn't find any specifics on the website about how to actually obtain rewards.
Regardless, buzzd seems to be a great way to harness all of our real-time social networks to show which places are the most popular...right now. Combine that with the app's awareness of your location, and buzzd feels like a real iPhone native. And thus, out of the swarm we find something useful...!
(Blackberry and Android users, y'all can also join in the fun with platform-specific versions of buzzd.)