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The Value of Location isn’t Badges or Coupons

The Value of Location isn’t Badges or Coupons

Geo-web version 1.0: if you asked me how I perceive the cluster of geo or Location Based Social web applications  around today, that would probably be my answer.

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These are truly Web 2.0 applications and mobile or smart phone enabled at that. After all what’s the point of sending the same location form your desktop PC?

These applications are 1st generation to me, why? Well let’s glance at what they do: –

  • Checking In – this is the term describing the process of sharing your location.
  • Social – again the collaborative element but also coupled to..
  • Competitive – the process of earning badges of achievement or status/ ranking based on overall frequency of check-ins and frequency per location.
  • Contribution – the user is able to add to the overall geo-database with new locations.
  • Proximity – this again ties back to the Social Element: when you see a friend has just checked in at a nearby coffee shop etc you may decide to call them or simply surprise them.
  • Implicit Advertising  platform – each check-in that relates to a given store, coffee shop, restaurant is de facto an ad and the frequency of check-ins and or competition over mayorship of the location boosts the online profile of the location.

So, what’s next? Or more appropriately what should these platforms be doing to give us added value beyond badges, coupons and collaboration?

I know the video seems kind of harsh and actually I like the badges thing but my question remains: added value?

Location in a social networking platform should be about two things relevance  and context.

  1. Relevance: who is my location relevant to?
  2. Context: what aspects of my location make it relevant to me or others in my network?

In a relevant, contextual framework if I connect my Twitter / Facebook, Blog etc to Locations these simply shouldn’t be an outlet for my check-ins or changes in ranking. The Locational application should index and retrieve data that I post in these to create an extensive profile of me and those included in my network.

If for example in my Facebook profile I describe myself as Jewish and Religious then obviously I am only interested in Kosher restaurants; If I tweet for example about being lactose intolerant then I’m not really interested in Dairy restaurants.

Now this isn’t a hard and fast rule but the ability to glean information from external networks that a Locational application is connected to provides context. Which further allows the application to rank or filter the information on a by user basis.

An example of relevance is that I may check-in at a new location for me such as “I have just landed at Newark Airport, NJ” and one of my network happens to be mayor there. The Locational application would suggest based on relevance that they are the user with the most extensive knowledge and familiarity of the location.

Beyond this perhaps at conferences and the like the Locational application would utilize Augmented Reality to display user IDs over the head of people in my network as they check-in.

A final thought, I spoke about added value and all these ideas are nice but remember this each check-in is another point of information adding to an ever growing geographical database.

I for one would love to see a coverage map displaying the world and which parts of the world, countries and cities are and are not within the geo-database and the volume of users for each location.


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