Build a street from your favorite places in Posse

PossePosse is a new iOS app from the company of the same name, and a companion to its namesake Web service. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with an Android version to follow in few months.

Posse positions itself as a “social search engine,” allowing its users to build up a database of their favorite places and share them with friends. The app’s main draw over and above other location-based apps such as Foursquare is the ability for users to create “streets” — effectively “playlists” of places that share a common theme for the user. There’s no specific requirements as to how users choose to group places in their streets — one user might use a street to collect their favorite restaurants in places they have visited all over the world; others might use one to highlight the best places to have coffee in their local neighborhood.

The Posse app is split into three main components. The Explore screen, which the app defaults to upon login, shows nearby places to the user’s location and provides access to the search facility. Users may either search for specific terms or make use of a variety of predefined terms that range from “coffee” to “kid-friendly.” Alternatively, they may simply search for “awesomeness,” which picks out featured places nearby. When searching, users can opt to apply the search near to their current location, retrieved via GPS, or search for a specific location in the world.

Upon finding a nearby place that they like, the user may add it to one of their streets simply by tapping the “Add” button on the location’s details page. Each street may only house eight locations in total, so if the user wants to list more than eight favorite places, they will need to create additional streets. The behavior of the app does not appear to be consistent in this regard — early in testing, the app allowed me the option to create a new street, but later this option appeared to be completely absent, no matter how hard I looked. It also did not appear to be possible to delete my existing streets, only change their names and delete or reorder the places on them.

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When adding a place to a street, users have the opportunity to take a photograph and share a short comment about why they love that particular place. This comment and photo can be edited at a later date if desired. These comments are then visible to anyone else who views the detail of that particular place. There does not appear to be any means of interacting with other users’ posts — no like, comment or share buttons — though users may “follow” one another to more readily see recommendations from each other.

Posse comes with a built-in database of places, but users may also submit their own if they desire. If a location is not already in Posse’s database, the user must provide the name and full address of the spot, otherwise it will find itself positioned in a seemingly-random position in the world — attempting to add a local coffee shop without entering the full address and only the building name caused it to appear in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, for example. Perhaps some sort of location-aware address auto-fill would be beneficial here.

Posse will live or die based on its location database. Currently, it has a good lineup of places available in its native Sydney, Australia, and the company is reportedly moving to New York following a second series round of seed funding. Outside of these places, though, the service will need to work hard to convince local shops and restaurants that its premium business-facing promotional services are worth paying up for — and that users should be engaging with it, for that matter — otherwise it will find itself struggling to retain relevance amid the dominance of Foursquare and Facebook Places. It’s certainly a well-designed app with some very attractive hand-drawn artwork, but it’s too early to tell whether it will capture the imagination of the public on a large-scale basis just yet.

You can follow Posse’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.