SpotRank a Game-Changing Location Tool

Last week in my discussion with Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan he told me about today’s launch of “SpotRank,” the company’s aggregated data about location and local activity, now being made available to third party developers. According to the company’s release:

SpotRank data is based on hundreds of millions of anonymous location lookups processed daily through Skyhook’s Core Engine. This location platform powers positioning requests on tens of millions of devices and applications around the world. Skyhook continually mines this data to create detailed behavioral intelligence profiles for over half a billion 100 meter “spots” around the world. Providing brand new insight into the movement of crowds through out urban areas, these profiles are based on historical trends in location lookup volume and time of day.

Developers using SpotRank will be able to add surprising and game-changing new dimensions to their apps. Public transit or traffic apps could use SpotRanks to suggest new routes based on predicted traffic volume at a specific location. Music apps could suggest playlists based on activity in an area, with upbeat songs at peak hours. Social networking apps change up venue promotions based on the typical number of people in an area at a given time of day.

Skyhook’s servers see 300 million location lookups every day. All of this data, captured anonymously, is now available for third parties to use and mash up in any way they see fit.

The applications and implications are many and varied. The most obvious of which is predicting crowds and movement, with traffic patterns being the first and most obvious. But equally one could imagine OpenTable or other restaurant apps using this to make recommendations about when retaurants are likely to be less crowded. Alternatively one could predict for example which days of the year a favorite amusement park, say Disneyland, was least crowded and make travel decisions accordingly.

Morgan and I discussed several hypothetical scenarios like this but he said he was frankly waiting for the creativity of developers to be unleashed on the data. It’s interesting information with all sorts of practical (and potentially marketing) applications — and it’s all real, behavioral rather than predicted or modeled based on sampling.

I realize “game-changing” is something of a cliche and in fact it’s used in the language of the release itself. But this is a massive new dataset to bring to mobile developers. Individual versions of this are also starting to appear in Foursquare’s history for example.