Roam7 Tracks Your Friends’ Travels via Facebook

C. Custer
1:00 pm on Nov 21, 2012

Although I can rarely afford to actually do it, I enjoy traveling. So, like many others, sometimes I like to “travel” vicariously by flipping through the travel albums of my Facebook friends to see where they’ve been. So I was intrigued when I learned about Roam7, a Singapore-based startup that maps your friends’ travels out in the name of helping you plan your own trips.

Although Roam7 pitches itself as a site to get travel advice and plan trips from, I didn’t find it at all helpful for this. My friends have been all over the world, but they post photos, not hotel recommendations, and you would be hard-pressed to find much practical use for the site in trip-planning unless your friends left very detailed captions on their photos or you were just using it to preview photos of potential destinations.

That said, it’s still pretty cool. You just log in via your Facebook account and you’re presented with an interactive map and photos overlaying all the places your friends have been. You can click on a location to view the photos, and you can also choose to view a map of your own travels (mine is pictured above) which is rather fun. I had a good time hopping around the map looking at where friends had been, and I have to admit it did get me thinking about traveling even if it’s no replacement for TripAdvisor just yet.

I did also come across a few bugs — a couple pages loaded that seemed to have no content — but that’s par for the course for a startup and I’m sure it will be worked out soon. The Roam7 team already has a pretty neat product here, and while I don’t see it replacing TripAdvisor the way they hope it does, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for this kind of tool, especially if the photo-viewing feature could be made into a slicker, more enjoyable experience for those who simply want to browse nice travel photos.

  • Cheehan Tee

    (I’m the co-founder of Roam7)

    Charlie, thanks for the review! We’re glad you enjoyed using Roam7.

    You’re right that people generally don’t post hotel recommendations on Facebook but a simple caption like “this hotel was great!” from someone you know well may be more valuable than a large number of reviews from total strangers, which will take a lot of time to wade through. If the photo is geotagged or the hotel name is mentioned, Roam7 will pinpoint the specific hotel your friend stayed in and present it as travel advice for you. At the very least, it gives you a context around which to easily ask your friend for more info if you want.

    We also expect the quality and coverage of the auto-generated reviews to improve dramatically over time because:
    (1) The semantic analysis techniques we use to generate these reviews will get much better.

    (2) We lets users easily get more info from the story owner, and we will remember these answers and tag the photos accordingly, which will benefit the story owner’s entire network.

    (3) We will let users help each other tag their photos with specific hotels/restaurants/points of interest.

    (4) Users will come to realize their photo captions can help their friends plan trips and will be more motivated to include more info.

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