Placety has officially launched its place-centered mobile social network with an app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
The startup got its start last year and has been testing the service for the past few months.
Placety founder Ulf Waschbusch said the app is built to answer the question “What’s around me?” Users can create, comment on, and upload photos and audio to specific places.
Features include a Bird’s Eye View that overlays nearby locations as a grid and an Around Me augmented reality view lets users point their phones in a direction to see what’s in the distance. Placety is also heavily gamified, with a leaderboard, points system and stats.
While the app itself is attractive and mostly easy to use, I’m having a hard time seeing how it adds value on top of Foursquare and other similar services. Foursquare is a bit more focused on check-ins and current locations than Placety, but the ongoing development of its Explore feature has given it a similar use for discovering new places.
The problem with evaluating social networks when they launch is that they often lack the social aspect. While it’s possible to form opinions about the skeleton framework and the likelihood that it will become popular, the fundamental experience is missing. At first glance, Placety isn’t something that I’d use, but I’d give it a second look if it gained traction among my friends.
Right now, the people I care about connecting with are on Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp, and I suspect Placety is going to have a hard time convincing them to make the switch.
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