Developer Grafetee (pronounced graffiti, in an association to its location-tagging nature) has been hard at work developing and fine tuning their app of the same name. Utilizing proprietary technologies, Grafetee has created a geo-location app that closely aligns the web, local resources, and the power of mobile to give users the opportunity to discover the world around them in a new way. The new startup focuses on “world-marking” (a form of location-based bookmarking) – a feature that allows users to obtain information quickly about their surroundings that may pique their interest or serve a need. Think of a location based bulletin board that users and companies contribute to forming a real time map of events and interests in an area.
The company, established in 2012, was founded by entrepreneurs and industry veterans Juha Huttunen, Arttu Ylärakkola and Kalle Lundahn. Their goal was to develop a software application that transcends past existing geo-location apps and takes the concept to the next level. Grafetee utilizes proprietary technologies in connection with already popular mobile and web applications (like Yelp, Foursquare, Instagram, and Wikipedia – with possibly more to come) to deliver as much content about an area, restaurant, retail outlets, and more to users.
Grafetee has announced earlier today, that its app is now coming out of beta after an extensive three month public testing period. The Finland and London-based company is looking to expand the app’s coverage to an international level, after primarily focusing on the company’s native geographical areas. The app will continue to specialize in giving users map- and location-based exploration tools during this expansion via mobile apps for iOS and Android.
The app has been so successful in allowing users to explore and discover events, places and locations, it has found significant use in both commercial and consumer avenues. In a conversation with Co-Founder Juha Huttunen, DroidDog was able to find out that Finland Law Enforcement Officials have utilized the app to identify key crime trends, track activity, and more importantly alert the public to this information in an attempt to prevent crime prior to it even happening. All of this is possible based on information users have provided based on what they are seeing. This is quite the achievement for a company that began building this platform in April of this year. Certainly this could pave the way for similar arrangements with other public safety organizations around the world.
Speaking with Huttunen, we were able to learn what the motivation was that led to the creation of the app:
“Me and (Co-Founder) Arttu Ylärakkola were both looking for a new apartment and were quite frustrated that there was no easy way to collect all the open houses you wanted (to check out) on your phone so that you’d have them all with you when needed. Thus we built one.”
“Our goal is that Grafetee would be the app many, if not most businesses, use to broadcast their location specific data and the platform of choice to crowd source location specific data. Likewise we aim it to be the go to app for consumers wanting to find interesting things near their location. We’ve been partnering with retail outlets and other companies to also help deliver deals or special offers similar to what Four Square has done before. We believe this could be a major feature for us and an opportunity for growth. The retail sector, especially small business, could really be impacted by utilizing Grafetee to gain widespread exposure.
From business perspective we wanted to create a platform that would enable organizations to mobilize their location based data for consumers to view either through the Grafetee mobile app or our customizable website or even crowd source location based data as the Finnish Police are doing with Grafetee. We had done some small testing earlier but started building this for real in early April this year. The summer we spent piloting the app and now are launching Grafetee internationally.”
On the web, Grafetee gives users the ability to bookmark real-world locations from popular travel and booking sites like Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, etc. Users can then at that point be able to reference those bookmarks via the app when they are on the go. Certainly this will position the app against startups such as Findery and Everplaces, but according to Huttunen, Grafetee is more about future point of interest bookmarks, rather than mementos or to track where you’ve been.
“The app is more about…‘I’m heading to New York City in a month but want to plan out my trip with all of the sites and events that interest me’ as well giving you a quick snapshot of points of interest in your immediate area,” Huttunen said. In that regard, the app becomes a combination of Evernote, Yelp, with aspects of Shopkicks and Foursquare. Huttunen believes that their app’s wealth of categories, filters, and ability to link directly to a third party’s local information database will eventually lead to the app becoming a far-reaching resource. The company is currently looking to build upon the great success the app has seen during its testing period with improved content discovery options and an increase in involved companies/sources.
Huttunen also added that his company is also looking to expand operations into the U.S. at some point in the future, with an eye at Silicon Valley. This move the company hopes will assist in its global expansion as well as to create a presence within the U.S.
The Grafetee app is currently available for download from Google Play as well as Apple’s iOS App Market. Check out the full press release below.
Grafetee, the app that offers real-world bookmarking, comes out of beta and launches globally
Finnish startup takes location-based apps to new level by offering access to likes of Yelp, Foursquare, Zoopla, Flickr and Instagram
London, UK, 18th October 2012 – Grafetee, an iOS and Android app that allows users to explore, discover and bookmark events, places and locations that they can then share with friends; today announces its global launch. After spending three months in beta refining the service, a number of new features have been introduced, at the request of users, to further enhance the app. The app is so handy even the police in Finland are using it.
Available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play, Grafetee offers users access to third-party feeds that users can opt in or out of – Foursquare tips for where to check-in, local reviews from Yelp, images from Flickr and Instagram, UK property listings with Zoopla & the help of Wikipedia to ensure they’re in the know about a local area. Bulletin boards that users can post to such as tips about places to visit or services like car repairs to use can also be viewed.
The possibilities don’t stop there though – in Finland, Grafetee is even being used by the police force – Poliisi – as a way of protecting the local community. Users can alert the police in real time to report a crime or a disturbance at the touch of a button. Police monitor Grafetee for this as well as being able to send out notices to users warning them of potential issues that may occur. With the use of geo-fencing technology, residents of a certain area will only have access to the updates relevant to them. After being used just in Helsinki with great success, it has now been rolled out nationwide.
The key features of Grafetee include:
- EXPLORE - Grafetee offers access to: Foursquare tips, local reviews from Yelp, browse images from Flickr and Instagram, UK property listings with Zoopla & information from Wikipedia & bulletin boards where you and & others can post anything you’d like
- DISCOVER – things you didn’t even know existed & leave updates for other users to see
- BOOKMARK – real-world locations for future reference. Users can also download the Grafetee bookmarklet & send information direct to their smartphone device
- SHARE - your whereabouts & discoveries with friends directly to Facebook or in-app
- VIEW – all feeds from Foursquare, Yelp, Flickr, Instagram, Wikipedia and user-generated feeds in one map in both the iOS and Android app
- PRIVACY - registration free & can be used anonymously
And it’s not just consumers who can take advantage of Grafetee. Using the Grafetee button on a website, businesses are able to make it easier for users of the app to capture the details on the move. Content from sites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Airbnb, Trulia, Zillow and many others is already recognised by Grafetee…the possibilities of this feature are endless.
For more information about Grafetee please visit www.grafetee.com.