For anyone who thinks social networking has run out of ideas, there’s an app for that. Huzzah! Huzzah! Here comes CENTRL. And just for the record, that’s not a spelling error. Quietly making its way around the virtual social scene, Centrl is a free application, not just for the iPhone but for Blackberry and Android smart phones as well. It is said to be, “the first location-based messaging system,” that also interacts with your other social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster and others. Once you and your friends, real or imagined, download Centrl you can follow each other around in real time and chat as you go. Choose only a few designated insiders or add a world of “friends.”
Other than just broadcasting your location and conversing with your friends, Centrl also helps you orient yourself to the world around you, wherever you may happen to be. Like Urbanspoon for the iPhone that was all the rage when it came out last year, Centrl lets you know what restaurants are nearby. Given the restaurants that actually come up, it seems like these restaurants may be advertising with Centrl, which isn’t a bad thing. How will you really know if a business exists if it doesn’t advertise, right? But once you’ve found a place to eat, Centrl doesn’t desert you. It has other uses as well.
Centrl says it displays locally relevant information on an interactive map. The map is organized into layers of information such as people, favorite things or places, information on various sites, and deals for say, movie tickets. So if you were using Centrl the app in Central the park, you could click on the Wiki and learn that Central the park is the most visited in the U.S. with about 25 million visitors each year. Then you could take the train to Grand Central Station where you would realize that Grand Central the station is really the post office whereas, the train station is called Grand Central Terminal. This is precisely why we need apps to orient us.
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