Big at the SXSW Interactive Fest: Location, Location, Location

The South by Southwest Interactive festival starts today in Austin, and it looks as though the buzz is all about location-based services.

Twitter, which got a lot of attention at SXSW three years ago, officially added an option to its site that allows users to share their location in their tweets. In a posting on its blog, the site said “a recent burst of interest in location sharing” prompted it to add the feature.

Users can opt in to enable the sharing service and can decide whether to attach their location on a tweet-by-tweet basis. They also can choose whether to provide exact coordinates or just a neighborhood or town name. It’s an ideal feature to add in time for SXSW, which is spread over venues throughout a large area of Austin and also includes important music and film portions.

But the real attention is focused on two services that have been in the location-sharing business longer than Twitter–Foursquare and Gowalla. These two applications let users share where they are and compete to earn virtual prizes based on how often and where they “check in” to the app.

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