Saturday, November 21, 2009

Location, location, location. What do you think?

As an avid trend watcher in technology, I am seeing Location Aware and Location Sharing applications boom to the top of the charts.

Ever since mobile devices added GPS technology, geeks all over the world have wanted to utilize the technology for obvious reasons. Directions, Train and Bus Maps, Geocaching, photo locations, Wikipedia entries, news, etc.

The location technology chatter that is booming now is social media related. I'm talking Twitter, FourSquare, Loopt, and Google Latitude. There are dozens more and more launching every day.

Twitter announced this week that geotagging... is officially available. This basically means that if enabled by the user, (it's off by default), the GPS coordinates of exactly where each tweet was sent from will be attached to the message. So, for example, I tweet "Just ate the best Thai!", but didn't include that we were at Phenom on Northampton Street, you could look at the location data and see something similar to this. Geotagging will bring the internet local.

Why is this exciting? Well, the entire goal of social media is to be.... wait for it: Social. But posting updates and information to a one dimensional computer screen, doesn't really qualify. When adding geolocation (exact location including altitude), it brings social media to a real and usable dimension.

There is a solid advertising model here too. Imagine you are in Bethlehem and the Apollo Grill recognizes that you are close to their location through a FourSquare update or a tweet that was geotagged. They send you a message like this: Free drink on us when you mention GPS at the Apollo Grill Bar.

This technology exists today and as more users opt-in and allow their location to be broadcast, the more valuable social media will become. It's exciting, new and the possibilities are endless.

What about you? Will you enable geolocation on Twitter? Are you totally into the technology and the Mayor of CVS - Forks already or are you more conservative and not willing to share GPS data just yet?