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Whrrl introduces mobile social discovery to the BlackBerry

Pelago's mobile social discovery service Whrrl is now available to BlackBerry users.

The Whrrl experience captures a person's activities, cataloging an individual history of places visited and events attended through icons pinpointed on Whrrl's built-in mapping application. User ratings and reviews of these places and events then determine how each is depicted on the Whrrl map, color-coded as either positive, neutral or negative-charged icons.

"The key thing is that our product is all about social discovery," said Darren Vengroff, cofounder and chief technology officer of Pelago, Seattle. "It is the intersection between social networking and local discovery.

"It works on a handful of other devices as well but for the BlackBerry we took advantage of the phone's key features and capabilities in terms of the way users can interact with Whrrl," he said.

Whrrl was founded in January 2006 to combine mapping and micro-blogging technology into a social discovery experience. Whether accessed via the Web or mobile device, Whrrl provides users with a new discovery pathway for finding and sharing local knowledge with friends and communities.

Essentially, Whrrl users can share and discover local information on people, places, events and experiences.

"I think that mobile social networking enables a whole new set of users because you have the device in-pocket wherever they are going and whatever they are doing," Mr. Vengroff said. "The biggest opportunity is for local advertisers because they can target ads based on the context, what people are doing and what they are looking for.

"This allows for hyper-targeting to a specific demographic of people who are most likely interested in you and your product," he said.

The user-contributed information generates the map icons and is shared through a real-time micro-blogging feature called the "Whrrld Feed."

In addition to sharing ratings and reviews, users can also instantly update others on their location or status through their Whrrld Feed by checking in via SMS, the Whrrl mobile application or the Whrrl Web site.

To ensure privacy, users set the specific group of friends that can see their actual real-time location. Other users, even friends, can't see their location unless given specific permission by the user.

The release of the BlackBerry mobile application coincides with expanded events and calendar features on Whrrl, giving users relevant local information from their mobile device.

Whrrl can be directly downloaded to a user's BlackBerry for free at

"Now you can be on the go when deciding where to eat and look at the area around you in the eyes of your friends," Mr. Vengroff said. "You can look at your area on a map and see places that your friends have rated highly."