New LBS App Lets Users Dig Up Details on Potential New Friends

Local company 4:33 Creative Lab has introduced yet another entrant into Korea’s booming location-based service sector. Called Secret Box, the app has users unearth imaginary boxes buried around the city, open up the pictures and messages (left by fellow members) lying within, and then submit replies or start chatting straight away.

Secret Box’s unique selling point is that users can start up new friendships or groups with people who are visiting, or have visited, the place where the user now is. This could lead to casual chats, new friendships or even, the Prime Kyongje article says, romance.

4:33 Creative Lab developed this app as part of the “Open API Cooperation Project” at SK Telecom’s Sangsaeng Innovation Centre. The app makes use of SK’s T-map function, and is now available for free from SK’s T-Store.

Users of Secret Box are supposed to leave a message and picture of themselves in locations they go to frequently, such as workplaces or apartment complexes. Then, fellow members can check out, via the app, what’s in the “boxes” when they pass through the area. To check out what’s on offer in the vicinity, users can conduct an “area exploration,” which even goes to the trouble of showing the quickest route to a secret box that takes their fancy.

In addition, by collecting “뿅” (bbyong, roughly translatable as “surprise!”), you can increase your ranking among the co-inhabitants of areas where you have secret boxes. One bbyong is awarded daily to the secret box inhabitant of each area who receives the most “likes” from people who check out their message and photo. Rankings are listed in the app.

Until the 5th of September, Secret Box is looking to drum up business with its “find the Secret Box, receive a giveaway” promotion.  In keeping with the secret shtick, the exact nature of the prizes won’t be disclosed. Instead, hints for that day’s prize will be revealed via the app. However,  4:33 Creative Lab says the prizes will include luxury handbags and tablet PCs.

So, what do we make of this one? Novel and innovative attempt to tap into the social networking and dating businesses? Or a tad icky?

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