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Apps link people with new places in real world

A woman walks past icons for Apple applications at the company's retail store in San Francisco, California April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Ga
A woman walks past icons for Apple applications at the company's retail store in San Francisco, California April 22, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Ga

By Natasha Baker

(Reuters) - Tired of the same restaurants and clubs? Not sure if friends would want to venture to a new cafe or bar? New apps show where people want to go, rather than where they have been.

Superb, an iPhone app that launched last week, lets users create lists of popular places they would like to visit and shows them a list of other people who would also like to go there.

"It's all about hanging out in the real world and getting offline, and the best way to do that is to know where people want to go," said Eddy Lu, co-founder and chief executive of Venice, California-based Superb.

The app displays full-screen images of venues such as restaurants, museums and hiking trails. A swipe to the right adds the venue to the user's to-do list, while a swipe to the left side indicates they are not interested. Tapping the middle button indicates they have already been there.

It also reveals friends who would like to visit a venue.

"With Facebook and Foursquare it's all about ‘This is where I was' or ‘This is where I am' but we're all about future intent — not the present or the past," Lu said, referring to the social media sites.

Other apps such as Yelp and Foursquare work in a similar way by creating lists of places users would like to visit. Music apps, including Bandsintown, show users concerts their friends are attending, and Eventbrite, Plancast and Meetup indicate which friends are attending other events.

Sosh, an iPhone app available in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington and New York, is another way to discover things to do in cities.

"Every single person no matter their age, gender or location all have a question they ask themselves which is ‘What should we do?'" said Rishi Mandal, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based company Sosh. "We help them answer that question."

The app curates a list of events in cities such as a guest chef appearing at a restaurant, a new show, or a special experience at a bar.

"There's a bar doing a Girl Scout cookie pairing menu, for example. They ask you which cookie is your favorite, and pair it with a cocktail. So it's not an event or a place, it's a more elusive thing to do," said Mandal.

After friends agree on an activity a new, free iPhone app called Klutch can help them manage the scheduling.

"We're losing interaction with people because they are connecting through technology rather than real meetups — and one of the biggest barriers is figuring out the details of when and where to meet," said Hunter Gray, the founder and CEO of Klutch, based in Santa Monica, California.

With Klutch, users can scan calendars to pinpoint when and where everyone is meeting and the app automatically adds events to the attendees' calendar once the plans are finalized, including a map to the destination.

(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Walsh)