The era of location-as-platform for software development is just beginning. No longer of interest only to uber-geeks, everyday people are now reporting their physical locations online, often through their phones. Geolocation services are hot and ever more prominent ones (like Facebook) are believed to be right around the corner.
This is a very exciting development for lovers of innovation. Today we asked some of our favorite web-heads why they are excited about geolocation and below you’ll find their answers. We hope you’ll share with us what you too, dear readers, think of this hot new trend online.
We’ll start with three short responses from software developers, in order to put things in some technical context. Then we’ll move on to what it all means, with thoughts from writer and renaissance man Dean McCall, Warner Bros. music geek Ethan Kaplan, groundbreaking Georgia school teacher Vicki Davis and Baratunde Thurston, comic, pundit and web editor at The Onion.
For Software Developers
John Musser, ProgrammableWeb
Nearly everything in our lives has a geo component – so it’s a universally useful service. Geolocation + mobile devices + open APIs give developers the tools to create entirely new classes of apps, and at the same time can make existing apps smarter and richer.
Raven Zachary, Small Society
Relevancy. The advances in mobile technology and wireless networks have finally allowed us to make use of location services in a way that fits into our existing lifestyle. We’ve been talking about the possibilities of location services for decades, and we have the infrastructure now to make these exciting services a reality.
Kevin Marshall, Hive Mind
If I know 5 people that love coffee – I would love to see what’s the place they all frequent the most. This sort of data just isn’t available right now…but hopefully it’s on its way.
Alex Iskold, GetGlue
The previous generation of application pushed its context onto the user. Today, we are moving in the opposite direction where apps appear in context. This innovation started on the web, with the rise of contextual apps based on user’s context and now is rapidly moving into Geolocation.
Dean McCall, Idea Finishing School
For me its about pre-deterministic behavior: the idea that a location has a story about itself appeals to me. It allows me to make more informed decisions, to connect to new people and tell a better story about the world I am in.
It’s still to be determined how our conversations about locations will evolve as well as our conversations with one another…more transparency is my hope.
Ethan Kaplan, Warner Brothers Records
Geolocation is super important to us because the best experiences with music are predicated on being proximal to it in its raw form [live performances].
Being sensitive and reactive to user location is the easiest way to bring the band closer — physically, metaphorically and figuratively — to the fan.
Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher
Well, here is the thing with Geolocation – it is outdoors. So, it brings in the nature learner by taking them outside – also the bodily kinesthetic learner. There is a book called Last Child in the Woods whose thesis is that we’ve pulled kids out of nature and actually calls it “nature deficit disorder.” As a “farm girl” I’m a big believer in taking kids outside to learn if possible. So, using geolocation opens that up as well as the possibility of using things like Scvngr to do campus tours.
The only thing to remember is that we also have to begin making objects intelligent so that when they cannot get GPS coordinates (like inside) that they can gain information about objects (like on a field trip).
We need to make our world mashable. This whole concept of hardlinking extends to GPS and Geolocation. So, this is the next major growth of the Internet as the Internet becomes a hardlinked network which incorporates the objects and locations in our daily life. And we have to empower students with handhelds that have these capabilities and are incorporating an excellent curriculum. Most publishers aren’t thinking this way, but need to. This is the great thing about having open educational resources – we can all build on our piece of it.
Geo-location will offer another tool for the forces of Good in the great battle between effective filters and information overload. While social media helps me find value based on trusted sources, geo-location will go a step further by narrowing my choices to what’s nearby. For all its ability to build connections, the Internet has in some ways disconnected me from my locale. I’m a “national” or even “global” citizen and I look forward to once again being where I am. The creative opportunities are also fun. I’ve left a bunch of easter egg “tips” in Foursquare and have a bunch more hijinks planned. Geo-targeted comedy is the future.
That’s what some of our friends have to say about this trend, how about you? This is going to be a big topic in the near-term future, so let’s start talking about what we’d like to see from geolocation services.
Finally, watch this space: location is the topic for one of our next research reports and for our next public in-person event. These are exciting times to know where you are and to have software that can do something with that information!
Titile image: Earth Chicken by Flickr user HikingArtist.com