Saturday, February 25, 2006

Location based communities

One of my latest interests has been mobile phone technologies. A few years back I remember looking down on these devices as limited and awkward computer wannabes. Today, the mobile phone market looks really promising and similar to the early years of the PC. The increasing use of the phone as a way to access the internet will bring about an improvement on how people use the web today.

Web 2.0, more about technology, is about giving the power to the users: user created content and photos uploaded and tagged are few examples of how people are creating and communities and sharing interests around particular issues. What is missing from most of the content today is location, some that can be improved by mobility.

In a couple of days I will attend a U2 concert in Buenos Aires. As in many concerts, the most ubiquitous device will be the mobile phone. With it people will take pictures, shoot short videos and eventually share it with others. Unfortunately these mountains of information will be location agnostic; they will lack the context of location that gives them meaning.

Imagine if I as soon as I upload the picture I'm automatically assigning it a geolocation based on my current position. A few weeks later I could search for other people that took a snapshot of Bono the same day and share live again the experience from a different angle. I could share my experience in my blog and have it linked to other blog users that where nearby the same day and added blog entries of their own. Creating a mashup with this information together with sites like GoogleMaps will be trivial as I already have the coordinates for the information that was uploaded. If you have used google local or even map quest you’ll realize the potential for queries in the vicinity of you current position as you surf.

Finally, locating a mobile phone will become more commonplace with the new 911E proposal that requires that a cell phone could be located in case of need with a mandatory GPS in each phone. The industry is also showing increasing support for location based services with API for geolocation using their network.

Let the location-based-web begin…(maybe Web 3.0 ??)

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