Location, location, location

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Location, location, location. In case you haven’t noticed location services seem to be everywhere and I’m really excited about all the ways location can make mobile apps and websites more useful.

We all know the internet is becoming more and more portable meaning we have a range of devices that allow us to connect to the internet in many different ways in many different places.  Location based services have been on the rise over the past few years and now they are becoming more intelligent and are providing services gathering information that has relevance to the location that you are in or the location that you are interested in.

As multimedia students, we need to be aware of the different types of location-based services that exist right now and the different types of information they are creating and adding further value today.   Here are a list of the most useful services that I believe are paving the way for the way in which we create and utilise location-based data.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilising a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences.  As a user you will earn points and badges as rewards for checking into certain venues.  You are able to leave tips that can be viewed by anyone who is close to that venue or searching for that venue.  The information is classified by venue category allowing people to search for bars and restaurants in the area.  What sets this app apart from applications such as Around Me is the fact that the venue have not been sponsored, but have been added by real people who enjoy the services that they have to offer providing you with more information when deciding where to visit.

Just like Twitter, foursquare has an API that allows developers to build their ideas on the foursquare platform. Developers have already used the API to build new check-in functionality, cool games, and interesting data visualisations.

https://foursquare.com/

Twitter

We have all used Twitter, but adding the location of your tweets can help in many different ways.  With accurate, tweet-level location data you could switch from reading the tweets of accounts you follow to reading tweets from anyone in your town or city.  We can also take into consideration the value of tweets in natural disaster zones.

Ushahidi

Ushahidi is a platform that is used in disaster relief efforts to gather information from social media to help with the emergency response. The Ushahidi Engine is a free and open source platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline.  By knowing the location of tweets and facebook posts it will help classify the trustworthiness of the data that is being collated by the Ushahidi engine.  This is a demonstration of how the location of information can be lifesaving through the power of crowd sourcing.

Color

A new Color iPhone app has been deigned to create a complete new and innovative way to use your mobile for social networking using your camera and photographs.
The new Color application allows you to see other users photographs that have been taken using Color from people within 100ft your location. Providing you with a complete stream of photos to record everything going on at an event.

The Color application chooses which pictures you see from the continuous stream based on your location and how often you have been sharing photos with someone else.
Every photo and video taken with the Color app is public, not only to the people you consider your friends, but also to any one within your proximity, even strangers.

Bizzy

While most social media recommendation platforms help users cull advice from friends – sometimes guiding them to make new friends so that their reviews are more trusted- Bizzy takes a different approach.

Unlike Foursquare, the user will check out of venues and rate the experience on a scale of 3.  Using the information that you have input the software will learn about you as a user.  It will compare you to other similar users and then use that information to offer you recommendations about what you like in the areas that you visit.  So if Bizzy think you like Sushi, they will recommend sushi restaurants next time you visit Birmingham or a new city you have not been to before.

This is a new idea, but I think a really fresh approach to how we can use location in new projects.

Usefull Links

http://mashable.com/2010/03/19/location-based-strategy/

http://www.thesearchagents.com/2010/06/comprehensive-guide-to-location-based-social-media/

http://www.studio1c.com/seo-and-internet-marketing/419-top-5-location-based-social-media-sites.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703597204575483832278936028.html

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