GyPSii for iPhone

What was once thought of as a clever and useful navigation tool for the car, GPS (Global Positioning System) technology has found its way into mobile devices for more than just finding our way from A to B.

GyPSii is a free download and subscription-free app from the iTunes App Store that allows you to stay connected with your contacts whenever and wherever you are so long as you have a data connection.

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I spent some time getting the hang of this mobile social-networking app and exploring some of the features. What I discovered was that there was a lot of cross-functionality that you find on other social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. However, GyPSii plays extra emphasis on events that take place in different locations, allowing you post messages and photos wherever you go and pinpoint them on a map. This is where the neat stuff comes in because GyPSii brings the location twist to social-networking.

GyPSii aims to provide a real-time feed of where you are and what you’re up to as opposed to other social-networks where you do something and maybe you’ll announce it before you do it, but then don’t post anything else until a few days afterwards. GyPSii is all about snapping the event there and then with your iPhone and posting it straight up to the cloud for everyone to see and for your network of contacts to comment on. Perhaps they’re at the event or nearby – this is where GyPSii comes into its own.

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Since GyPSii is a location-aware app, another unique feature is that you can also see where other GyPSii users are. Whilst this is meant to encourage socialising with new people, in reality it’s only useful for satisfying your curiosity as opposed to being a useful tool for meeting new people.

Whilst there’s an extensive range of features found in GyPSii, it’s not been one of the ‘hot’ properties on the iTunes App Store – this makes the whole social networking aspect rather limited since none of my contacts are on there and although I tried to convince them to give it a try – that’s just not how social-networking services typically grow.

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What I would like to have seen is an app that has the functionality of GyPSii that uses my list of contacts from Facebook, Twitter or any combination of the most popular social sites that are available today as opposed to creating another network that I have to update and where nobody I know is on it. GyPSii Connect does allow you to interface with your Facebook and Twitter accounts which helps to fill this void but unfortunately the service isn’t centred around this and I think that’s the biggest drawback of what would otherwise be a good idea.

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There’s still a lot more work to be done with the GyPSii platform before it’s ready to compete in a space that is dominated by giants. Is there room for an application/service like GyPSii? I believe there is, but the application needs to be more refined and provide a smoother more simpler user experience. This then needs to be backed up by a polished desktop web browser version that is just as easy to use. You might also want to throw in a bit of viral-marketing to get the ball rolling too – because even if you do have the coolest website, none of it matters if users and their friends aren’t signing up.

2009-09-08 Onwah Tsang

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