Local Discovery App Where Taps Bump For Some Social Mojo

Location-based discovery apps: there seem to be one born every minute. Unsurprisingly, some of the more established among them are now looking to add more social enhancements to set themselves apart from the rest. Today, Where, Inc. is announcing a new service where users can share new finds with friends, or physically touch Android or iPhone devices together to share places with those who are new acquaintances, using the sharing app Bump.

The app Where, which currently has about 4 million users, was already providing recommendations of places to users, based on what they searched for, viewed and saved in their profiles. Now the company is launching a new service called Perfect Places, in which users will be able to share those finds with their friends. “We use Facebook as the social layer,” Dan Gilmartin, VP of marketing for Where, told us in an email.

After places are shared, Gilmartin says Where looks for synergies between friends’ profiles, and then makes suggestions of where to go next based on those similarities.

One interesting tweak is that when two users who are not already friends on Facebook decide to go somewhere together and want a suggestion, they can literally knock their phones together to share their own Where profiles, to come up with suggestions on the fly, using Bump’s sharing technology.

Gilmartin says that the relationship with Bump is not a commercial one; Where is using Bump’s API for the new social service.

This could come in handy for work meetings — although it would be better if user profiles could be bumped virtually, since you usually plan where you will meet before you see each other); or, probably more likely, for people meeting for the first time and deciding on the fly to go somewhere else together.

This is not the first time that Where has tried to innovate beyond basic location-based recommendations; last year the company launched its own hyperlocal mobile advertising network, looping in local advertising networks that traditionally do not send ads to mobile, to provide location-based promotions and offers to match up with Where’s location-based recommendations on restaurants, bars and activities.

Could this service drive more usage, and set Where apart from the rest of the location pack? It seems like so many other services such as Yelp, Facebook Places, Gowalla and Foursquare are all closing in on the same ideas — social, location, checking in, offers — but in the end, all of these will only be as relevant as the number of people using them.

In addition the Android and iOS versions launched today, Where says the service will be extended to other major OS platforms “within the month.”