Banjo Lets Users Sort Social Content By Topic

By Cameron Scott 

banjo, highlight, location-based apps, location, social apps, mobile apps, social networks, social media, eventsBanjo, one of the trailblazing crop of location-based social networking apps that launched in 2011, today launched an update that allows users to tune into real-time content based on topic area and to scroll back into the past to find content related to a particular event.

When users open the app they see social content from their connections on various social networks sorted into topics including music, sports and news. Banjo is supporting the new use case by changing the way it sorts the content from distance from the user to reverse chronology.

“Think of Banjo like this: If you want to search something you go to Google. If you want to known what’s happening anywhere in the world right now, you go to Banjo. What Google is for search, Banjo is for real-time location,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Peck.

The update, version 3.5, also allows users to peer back in time up to 30 days to see the social content that users posted about a particular event using a calendar interface.

banjo, highlight, location-based apps, location, social apps, mobile apps, social networks, social media, eventsBanjo seems to be ahead of the real-time location-specific social content efforts that companies such as Yelp, Foursquare and, recently, Twitter, have floated. Gartner, the biggest name among industry analyst firms, included Banjo in an April list of “cool vendors in mobile marketing.”

“The company is building an enormous repository of regularly refreshed content. Conceptually, it’s a telescoping view of these profiles, snapping from the hyperlocal (a friend is skiing at Vail, Colorado right now) to the global (a first-degree friend of the skier is stuck at La Guardia)…Behind the scenes, Banjo’s platform is an excellent example of big data management,” the report said.

But the cool features come with a price: potential privacy woes. Banjo offers marketers targeting based on profiles that draw on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare information, which it aggregates, and their location data points. The app may also risk being cut off from one of the social networks whose APIs power it, the report notes.

Updated: An earlier version of this article’s final paragraph made it sound that Banjo handed user information to marketers. It does not. Rather, it allows marketers to segment advertising based on the information it has about users.