2013’s Top 10 Social Discovery Mobile Apps


Social discovery is a name that has subtly sifted its way into new technology terminology. Growing from the elaborate and fast-developing foundations of social networking, social discovery, fundamentally, represents the evolving benefit individuals and businesses can draw from social tools.  Whether it is discovering a new local eatery or unearthing the latest musical talent, social discovery is a powerful new tool, which aids the ‘search and locate’ process within innumerable sectors.

One of the most obvious platforms where social discovery can thrive is via smart phones, tablets and any other mobile communications device.  This is as a result of their geo-specific capabilities, which can allow you to discover people, places or things wherever in the world you happen to be – so long as you are connected to the Internet.

As mobile communications devices become more embedded within our day-to-day lives, social discovery is set to become the primary benefit of online connectivity.  It is also crucial to businesses, as a rival to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in ensuring high levels of digital traffic and, most importantly, high conversion rates.

With the benefits of social discovery apps, to both businesses and individuals, growing each day, we have chosen to introduce you to ten of the very best apps currently available on the market.

1. Sonar

Sonar Friends Nearby iOS appMicrosoft’s ‘Bing Fund’ has recently committed a large sum of investment towards developing the Sonar app, which connects individuals through Facebook, Foursquare and geo-tagged Tweets.  Fundamentally it helps to connect you to other individuals in your proximity using social media indicators, such as mutual friends. Currently it has primarily benefitted users at conferences and other networking events, but with the recent investment, it could soon become a regular tool for more mainstream consumers.

2. Banjo iOS AppSimilarly to Sonar, Banjo uses existing social network information to connect you to people in your proximity.  Banjo markets itself as being “the next best thing to being there” and is designed as a way of experiencing a place or an event from afar.  Banjo has been picking up pace of late and has recently hit 4 million users, as well as announcing new Google+ integration.  One of the coolest/creepiest benefits of Banjo is the ping you get whenever a friend is nearby.

3. Highlight

Highlight iOS AppHighlight helps you to learn more about the people around you.  The Highlight team recently hired an ice cream van and drove around handing out ice lollies.  As well as being a nice way of marketing to the wide demographic of people who enjoy ice lollies, this stunt was also pulled in order to promote the apps new photos feature.  Again using information from Facebook, Highlight bridges that useful/creepy divide, offering you information about other users nearby, whether or not they are friends.  The developers recently claimed that the app had tripled its total users in just six months and with lots of attention coming from SXSW it looks set to continue growing.

4. Localmind

Localmind iOS AppLocalmind has a focus on supporting local community interaction through connecting people and places online, with a view to catalysing near-immediate interaction offline.  Last December the App was purchased by Airbnb – a San Francisco company, which primarily functions as an alternative online property platform.  The main reason for this merger seems to be the bid to make travel less touristy, by providing real time local information about a wide variety of interests, from accommodation to entertainment.  It also seeks to connect individuals using geo-specific apps, such as Foursquare.

5. Hubbl

Hubble iOS AppHubbl is a social discovery app for apps. In the past perhaps users would have to browse for hours to find the right app for them, but Hubbl works on the principles of social discovery to help you locate the perfect app quicker.  It also links you with like-minded individuals, who you can befriend and follow and learn about what apps they are downloading too.  Hubbl takes advantage of hashtags(#), as well as its unique filtered telescope system, in order to allow users to discover the apps that they want.  They have also recently integrated the app into Apple’s Passbook with the purpose of enhancing app discovery without first having to download an app.

6. Buddha

Buddha Mind iOS AppThe concept behind Buddha is to enable users to interact more wholly with the world around them.  Branded on the Buddha, the app also seeks to raise awareness of where your close friends are, as well as connecting you to other like-minded people.  There is a ‘view matches’ function, which allows you to discover friends of friends in your vicinity and a real time map where you can see your contacts.

7. Rdio

Rdio iOS AppRdio focused initially on music streaming, integrating social discovery in the quest for good music.  In April of this year, through Video, they have now also launched a social discovery film and TV platform.   The concept is to help you find music, and now films and TV programmes, by connecting with friends and other individuals with similar tastes to your own.  Although music-streaming competitors, such as Spotify, are perhaps more well known, Rdio has the firmest focus on music discovery and it is this that gives it such potential to grow.

8. Tripl

Tripl is a social discovery app aimed specifically at travellers.  Although initially designed to connect friends and like-minded individuals who happen to be in the same place at the same time, last year its focus shifted somewhat. Tripl now focuses on combining information from social networks, such as Facebook and Foursquare, to beautifully craft a image history of your travels, past and present, along with your travel buddies.  It still allows you to socially interact with friends or people treading similar paths, but it does so predominantly through images and blurbs, as opposed to catalysing conversation.

9. Best of All Worlds

Best of All Worlds iOS AppThe Best of All Worlds App has been designed in reaction to the saturation of many social networks and other social discovery platforms.  It strives to bring back quality to digital interaction and, in so much, is a private, invitation-only community. The stated intent of the designers is to “return relevance, trust and usefulness to the online world”.  Further, the founders – Erik and Louise Wachtmeister, refer to Best of All Worlds as a ‘social navigator’ and have created it for catalysing creative thinkers and entrepreneurs to come together and share ideas. With a focus on the future, they see the app as different to most other social platforms, which, in their opinion, focus too much on past events.

10. ColourDNA

colourDNA iOS AppIn recent years, there has been the realisation that we don’t actually like everything we say we ‘like’ on Facebook.  It is a realisation that has led to social media maestro, Max Levchin (Google/PayPal), stating that advertisement optimisation based on social graph signals is not working. ColourDNA works on the premise of using complex technology to truly determine what it is that we like, and more importantly, what we want.  This social discovery technology is based on our favourite colours, with a theory that this is connected to your taste in a wide range of other things, from bars to board games.  Beneath this colour psychology lays a simple intent to make it easier to discover new things.

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