Loku is a trendy location-based web application that helps users find almost anything in their local community. The user can search using a zip code and discover top news stories, events, popular hangout locations, city guides and local eateries and bars. The application operates using a simple search format. The user provides a location and what they would like to know about. Embedded Google Maps help the user pan their area to see other nearby cities that they might be interested in exploring. Searches can also be refined by time frame, with options for this month, this week or the past 24 hours. Search results appear as blocks rather than a text list of links. Some include images, others post text headlines within the result’s box.
Loku was founded in May of 2008 by Dan Street. The application is designed to provide users with bits of information based on location, a service Mr. Street would have needed over his many evenings of travel each week. The current version holds a lot of promise, although it still falls short primarily because smaller communities are not covered. Users may have to broaden their area when searching to get a decent number of results.
While other location based application seem to focus on building relationships, Loku is intended more for practical searching. Instead of asking the user to add friends right away, Loku requests the basics: where the user wants to go and what they need to find there. This focus gives Loku an appealing edge that is further defined by the trendy style of the site. Users may have to stick to the bigger cities in their area to get the most use out of Loku.
The style of Loku gives it a visual appeal that most users can appreciate. The homepage features a faded map background while blue, yellow and deep brown hues create a harmonious palette for the eye. Despite its unique style, the site still manages to maintain a very structured, organized feel that allows the user to easily navigate. The user is only asked for the necessities and nothing more when submitting a new search.
Visitors to the Loku website are not required to create an account and sign in. The user can begin by entering a zip code in the field provided at the center of the homepage. Users who wish to create an account can click the blue “Connect” button in the upper, right hand corner to sign in with Facebook. This is the only registration option currently offered (even though there is a separate “Sign In” area beside the Facebook button). Loku is still in beta, so it may be safe to assume that additional options are planned for a future update.
Loku offers a fun, helpful service, but it is still something that is offered on the internet every day for free. All users can use Loku at no cost, and this is definitely the way it should be. Loku is essentially a refined search engine and little more. Users can find businesses, news stories and other content related to their geographic location with Loku, but the same can be done using many other free search engines.
Loku is a helpful application for most users searching for results in a specific city or town. Users searching in larger cities will get a better return on their searching efforts. Smaller locations may need to be broadened. The application can help the user find everything from news stories and obituaries to restaurants, businesses and events. Searching is kept very simple and the user can return as often as they like.