As location services become more integrated with apps as witnessed with games and social networks, developers are continuously attempting to find ways to enable location settings to differentiate from rival apps. Just as Pokemon Go and Snapchat has successfully combined their respective categories with location services, Lohalo is another messaging app in this space which carries user specific location data through messages to find those with similar interests.
With Lohalo, a user can successfully send a message to others only if they are within a 10 miles radius of each others location. This makes the app extremely differentiated as it solely connects individuals around a location with common interests. By matching location along with additional data such as keywords and hashtags, the app brings together different users who share common interests within the same area. In the case that a keyword or hashtag matches with another user, a notification will be sent through by email and/or mobile app notification.
While this service may initially appear niche, a few instances where it is highly applicable to many activities is when a user is looking for others who want to engage in a similar activity, say hiking for example. With the goal of finding other in the area who are also passionate about hiking, the user can send a message through Lohalo and set the tag to ‘Hiking’ to start receiving messages from others around in the area who are also interested in hiking.
Upon opening the app, Lohalo users can add and remove their tags and even have multiple locations to start receiving notifications from all the registered locations. As a location based app, it requires the constant update of the user’s location to be able to accurately track those with similar interests in the area. However, the common familiarity of battery drainage from GPS usage on mobile devices is evident even when the app itself is not actively being utilized. To avoid this, users can allow location services to be enabled only when the app is in use and then disabling it otherwise to conserve battery life, so the app does not require constant update of location. The first time the app is used, Lohalo detects location automatically and then subsequently requests for the users permission after that.
While connecting those with similar interests within a common area is a new iteration to social media that transitions from a purely digital environment, the app should be used cautiously for the younger audience as meeting with unknown people can pose safety issues. To counter this, meetings should always be done in groups and accompanied by others. Added to this, safety features in the app include the ability to remove saved location or tags to stop receiving notifications.
To get the most out of on the mobile app experience, many developers are rushing to incorporating various functions of the device directly into the user experience such as with the gyroscope, camera, and now GPS. Available on the App Store, Lohalo is one such app that creatively brings the digital experience of finding those with similar interests into the physical world by connecting those within a 10 mile radius.