Tag Archives: location-based

How To Stay Secure While Using Social Media

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Is location-based social media an incredibly innovative technology that will garner relationships and bring them to the real world, or a creepy way to help evildoers find out where you are, or where you aren’t? One thing is for sure, this new trend is big business and a lot of money is being thrown at companies that are at the forefront.

SchneiderMike knows a thing or two about this latest trend and where it may be headed. In this interview we cover topics including the hype behind Color, security, and the future of location-based social networking.

Tech Interruption is dedicated to arguing about the tech issues of today and trying to predict the future. They have had some pretty serious heavy-hitting guests on their show in the past and tend to focus on what’s hot at any moment in time – which is why they’re so focused on location-based technology right now.

Mike and I were laughing that BlogWorld was happening in the same building at the same time as a book expo. It’s confusing, eh? Who reads books? Mike quickly jumped in to tell me about a recent conversation with his publisher. He would love to see more communication between readers while they are reading. He’d love to see people put notes and treat it more like a community while reading something on your device of choice. I’m surprised someone like Amazon hasn’t thought of this yet.

There’s a group trying to take textbooks to this level – at least on the iPad – but I don’t know about regular old novels. Anyone can publish and sell a book and anyone can read one. There’s just no glue to hold everyone together. There needs to be something ridiculously awesome in order to pull people together in this way.

So how could location-based services be used around books? It might be interesting to see where people are that are reading the same thing you are. It’s hard to peg down what people want to see and know about others, which is why we’re not seeing anything much in the way of “fast” innovation in this area.

People are giving out so much information about themselves. They throw it out there without realizing the possible ramifications. You have to be completely serious and conscious about who you’re pushing your location to online. The most important thing is you – your family, your life and your safety. Before giving out your location to anyone, ask yourself if it is something you need to do and check to see who it’s going out to. What are they going to do with this information? Is it going to bring any value to yourself or others?

Be sure to check out what Mike and the rest of the Tech Interruption team are up to. They’ve got some fantastic work ethics and a lot of passion.

Hype Aside, Most of Us Are Not Checking In

Despite all of the hype surrounding various check-in services, most of us are not bothering with any of them. Companies such as Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick and the almighty Facebook all offer services which let you report your physical location online. This allows you to connect with friends on the fly or receive some pretty rad coupons and discounts when visiting a business. A recent study shows, though, that only about four percent of Americans have tried location-based services, and a mere one percent use them weekly.

“Ever since mobile phones and location technology got started, there have been conversations about the potential for doing something really incredible with this for marketers,” said Melissa Parrish, an interactive marketing analyst at Forrester. “But clearly the question is whether it has reached the mainstream, and it looks like the answer is no.”

Many businesses offer free drinks or discounts on goods when you check in there. Heck, you can receive even better goodies if you become the mayor of many of those same establishments. While this appears to be a great marketing ploy, there is a serious flaw in the equation if no one is using those services.

Twitter has over 145 million users. Foursquare has about three million subscribers. Loopt boasts four million fanatics. However, only about a quarter of them are active. The potential is out there to turn location-based checkins into a marketing guru’s dream. Despite VCs pouring more than $115 million into the mix over the past year, we just aren’t quite there yet.

Swipely Turns Your Purchases into Conversations

Swipely from Swipely on Vimeo.

Swipely has launched as a invitation-only beta service right now and, according to Venture Beat, is “more than just a Blippy clone.” The primary difference from Blippy is that Swipely does not share the precise amounts of each purchase, likely soothing some of the privacy concerns that some would have over this service.

Many people aren’t sure they understand the logic behind the service. The goal is to turn your purchases into conversations by pulling in information about all of your purchases. The amount you spend may not show up… but the place you shopped definitely will.

This can be a good way to let your small circle of intimate friends and family members know what you’re up to, where you’re shopping and what you’re buying. But why would the World at large need to know these things? Are we so starved for interesting conversation that we all need to share everything we spend money on? Isn’t that what location-based services already do for us?

Services such as Foursquare already let us tell everyone where we are at any given moment of the day. Is it necessary, then, to let them know we spent money while we were there? If I were to check in from a restaurant, it’s likely a given I’m going to swipe my credit card when I’m finished.

I guess I’m with the majority of bloggers whose stories I’ve read this evening… I just don’t get the importance of this. However, you can watch the video for yourself and then let us know what you think. Is this something you would find useful?

HP Gloe: Connecting Web Pages with Locations

The geniuses at the HP Social Computing Lab have built a proof-of-concept web application, Android app and an API that is nothing short of awesomesauce. Gloe is augmented reality at its best… combining web pages with locations to create what could end up being one of the best location-based services yet.

Gloe is a geo-tagging experiment that will attach Web content to specific locations. This content could be pulled from a Wikipedia entry, public records or even news stories. You will be able to find out anything – and everything – you ever wanted to know about a particular location. You’ll also have the ability to vote your favorite content up and add new web pages to the location for others to see in the future.

While the entire service is still VERY much in the concept stages, it is already extremely promising. Some of the features already available include:

  • Pre-populated content from Wikipedia, review and photo sharing sites. The index of locations and content is already large and smart.
  • Automatic tag-clouds to see content type by category.
  • A bookmarklet lets you add any content from around the web to the database, tied to a specific location on the map. This part doesn’t work well yet, but is a fantastic idea.
  • Google Gears support to add geolocation to your laptop browser.
  • Facebook Connect integration to provide either universal or friend-network views of what’s most important in a location.
  • Vote budgeting, allowing you to put multiple votes in favor of an item in case it’s extra important to you that it gets voted up.

The API means that other applications can be built on top of Gloe, using it as a database. There are already a few Android apps available that were built using the GLOE API: Geo Poll, Geo Sound and Geo Fan. Any developer can build a geotagging service without having to worry about the backend storage, indexing and search infrastructure. The uses for Gloe are nearly limitless, especially considering the potential to “mash up” the Gloe API with other web services.

Are You on Gowalla?

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During the SXSW conference, I happened to run into Phillip. He is a developer with the Gowalla team. Up until that point, I had only heard about the service. I hadn’t taken the time to sign up or check in anywhere using the service.

Gowalla is a simple way to share your location with your friends, tell them about your favorite places, and figure out where everyone is gathering for the eveing. Location-based services made connecting with others a snap during the conference. With thousands of people milling about, it was nearly impossible to figure out where people wanted to congregate. Using a check-in such as Gowalla made allowed all of us to connect and make plans in a matter of moments.

Location-based services are HOT right now. It seems as though half the tweets floating across my stream are checkins from websites such as Gowalla. Are YOU checking in yet?

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