Today marks the most important day in BarBird’s brief history. We have three big announcements to make. First, we have launched the BarBird service in over 50 cities worldwide. Our current list of international cities are: Vancouver, Toronto, London, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Since that fateful hackathon where the BarBird idea was born, one of our primary goals has been to expand the service as quickly as possible, on an international scale. Today we are able to say we’ve reached that goal and we plan to continue expanding BarBird to every large city in the world. We want to make sure that as the girl in Orange County finds a cheap happy hour near her work off of BarBird, the guy in Mumbai can also find the next spot for him and his friends to go, off of BarBird. We hope that aside from providing a great entertainment deal-finder for residents within a city, BarBird will also provide travelers with a one-stop service to figure out where to go out in the city they’ve traveled to.
Next, we have officially launched our free iPhone app, with all major bugs fixed. We are extremely excited about this app because as our web interface provides a nice planning tool for a night out, our iPhone app provides a great tool for finding deals while one is already out. The iPhone app is excellent for ‘spontaneous discovery’ of where to go, as well as seeing what is near your current location. It’s great for both finding happy hours around lunch time as well as finding the next hot spot at midnight. We plan to provide an Android app next and ultimately a blackberry app as well, however, our mobile site will likely be completed before either of those.
Finally, we have officially opened up the beta of our web interface. One is no longer required to login to view the BarBird service. Thus, showing your friends BarBird is as simple as copy/pasting a link to them. Along with the open beta, we’re releasing a completely redesigned user interface for the web. Based on user feedback from our closed beta, we have made the interface simpler with the higher-value areas more top-level. We also think it looks quite a bit prettier :). Along with this interface, we’ve included the ability to connect through facebook. As of right now, logging in through facebook allows one to ‘Like’ tweets which filters those ‘liked’ tweets into our ‘Liked’ category. Here, the tweets with the most ‘Likes’ percolate to the top. The idea here is to provide a stream of bar-deals that are filtered by user-interest. Eventually, logging in through facebook will enable us to provide a host of features that personalize and socialize the BarBird experience. Finally, in select cities (LA/NYC/LDN), we have provided a drop-down menu (beneath the logo) that allows a user to ‘narrow’ the results he or she can view. Therefore, if I’m from Orange County and viewing the LA instance, I only want to see results in the Orange County area as opposed to all of LA, selecting ‘Orange County’ now allows me to do that (also on the iPhone app). We hope to continue expanding this ability to more cities.
We also have a lot of exciting things planned for the future. The next two big changes one will see to our web interface involve check-ins and group texting. We want to display which venues the most people have checked into (using the common LBS API’s) as well as (once authed) which venues one’s facebook friends have checked into. We will also be making it extremely easy to set up a group texting chat room for you and the friends you’re going out with so you can easily communicate if split up or in loud venues. We will be incorporating these features into our mobile application shortly after launching them for the web interface. Finally, we will be launching a tweet analytics interface for venue owners. Through this interface, venue owners will be able to purchase advertising in the ‘What’s Hot’ area as well as see fine-grained analytics on every tweet they’ve sent through BarBird and compare that to the best performing tweets overall. The long term vision for BarBird is to continue personalizing and socializing the experience for our end users on many different devices and make it increasingly easy for venue owners to tap into that market by creating deals and messages that our end users find attractive.