Location seems to have become all the buzz around the Internet world for the past few weeks, so I wanted to chime in with some of the interesting tidbits and long-lasting effects that this will have on Internet culture. Basically, I intend to show you all the happening places for happening places.
It would be almost impossible for you to not have heard of foursquare if you only even think about smartphones. Foursquare in an app for your phone that allows you to ‘check-in’ whenever you visit a business based on the GPS in your phone. This can allow you to meet up with people or share where you’ve been. There are also some achievements to acquire in the form of badges for different levels of activity in foursquare.
Just like there are fun things foursquare enables you to do, it also assists the not-so-fun things like getting robbed. By telling everyone where you are, it also tells you where you aren’t. If you’re checking into a business, you aren’t at home. The site PleaseRobMe.com wanted to bring attention to this fact and the dangers of over-sharing online.
Personally, my favorite coverage of the recent location-based enthusiasm has been through the webcomic PvP Online in an arc that started here and parodied the possible outcome with an app called Hopscotch.
With a Geolocation API specification reaching the draft stage with the W3C, geolocation is becoming the norm for Internet-connected devices. Mozilla has been offering a location-aware Firefox for a while and Google’s Chrome has the feature built into its recent developer build. Beyond the browser, Windows 7 has an API that allows applications to pull data from sensors like GPS devices.
All of these advancements have allowed for location-powered websites. Ads, coupons, maps, and social networking sites could all offer advanced features if they knew where you were physically located. Twitter, for example, turned on this capability by default last week. You might see a pop-over like the one below show up in your account offering to turn that capability on:
You can learn more about Twitter location from their article explaining it and the support entry on how to tweet with your location. If you’d like to configure the location, you can find it on the Settings page: http://twitter.com/settings/account
If you’re a developer and you want to take advantage of the cool and exciting location-based features, you don’t have to start from scratch. SimpleGeo provides the infrastructure for providing your geolocation app with the information it needs with a simple http request. For lots more information, check out the SimpleGeo website.
Other highlights of Geolocation come from other blog articles. If you run your own business, this article from Mashable is a great read on how to adapt and market your business to the location-aware crowds. Wouldn’t it be nice if your business showed up on their smartphone’s map as they’re looking for something you might offer. The other important article to read is for all consumers. Your privacy in this new location-aware, always-carrying-a-phone society could be easily compromised. This article from ReadWriteWeb will inform you of how your privacy might be affected and where it’s going with legislation.