A few years back, I became frustrated by the lack of knowledge I had on the people around me during a networking event. It was one of those events with 200+ people - mostly tech heads. I knew I wanted to meet some of the developers there, but I didn't know how who was who.
I thought it would be useful if I could see their bio - a LinkedIn snapshot for example - in the air above them. (Yes, I'm a StarTrek fan). Then I could just pick the people I wanted to talk to and get on with it. It would make me more efficient. It would help me connect to the right people.
Naturally, the challenge remains that these services are only truly valuable when most of the people in any given location - at a concert for example - actually use the service. Is this happening? Yes, you now see that Foursquare, Facebook Places, and GoWalla adoption is getting to a point where interesting new opportunities emerge.
This is geo-locaton + commerce + social.
When everyone has a smart phone with push notifications set for them to connect to "matches" around them - then offline merges with mobile social and that means we'll see the rest of the iceberg.
I think the big opportunities are in: 1) social commerce - connecting close proximity buyers to sellers more efficienly, and 2) mobile social - think hyper-efficient dating services. Companies such as Zaarly and Taskrabbit are focused on the commerce side, while a ton of mobile-dating apps are rocking the mobile social wagon.
One example: Why not connect demographically different groups such as 45-year-old home owners who have jobs they need done with 20-year-old students who need some part-time work? Connect the home-owner mom and Home Depot shoppers with creative artists who could use a bit of extra cash. Right now, these groups live in the same geo area, but they have few efficient ways to connect. Current social networks are not setup to link these groups. What do they have in common? Smart-phones.
Should we do something about it?