The Location social Layer: Back to real friends?
The location social networks.
Lately all the hype surrounding location on a phone and on the internet has gotten louder and louder. All the tech pundits are calling it the next Big Thing.
Of course we can suppose that they are right and it will be the next big thing. It’s like a new version of Twitter and Facebook.. all hot and nice.. Just like everything in the tech industry, if there’s something great, it’s amazingly great, but don’t worry, the next day it will be a huge piece of crap. That has happened to everything and it will happen as well with the Location networks.
But who are all playing in the location game?
Foursquare and Gowalla
We have the 2 front runners who are the new kids on the blog and they’re called Foursquare and Gowalla. They both have very strong backing and great iPhone and Android Applications.
The website sucks and they’re not focusing yet on improving it, you will see that is another trend within the location field. Shabby desktop websites.
They both are so-called games, where you enter a kind of competition with your friends to login and become a certain king of a place. You can add points with adding new locations, with becoming Major or whatever they call it. But people are pushed to add as many points as possible because in general, they want to be top of their friends.
Then we have Twitter, they just have switched on the Geo-Location switch at their Website and have been using that already for their API’s. Quite a few applications have had it already integrated. And the most funny part is that for example Foursquare is using Twitter to broadcast the location and use it as a marketing tool.
Facebook haven’t been into the location game yet, what is quite strange, but it’s widely believed they’re working on making the Facebook experience totally location aware.
Google has even 2 products in the location game, a mobile Google maps layer what is called Latititude and the new Google Buzz. Google Buzz has a very powerful mobile website with excellent location abilities.
What does it to my privacy?
Privacy is one of the main points for the Location networks because it really reflects where a person is at the moment and can be used on the positive but as well the negative side.
Not everybody wants the whole earth to know where they’re hanging around and where they are at a certain point.
That’s why the Gowalla and Foursquare have very strong privacy controls and that you can control who your friends are. There is the option to send your position straight to Twitter, but if you don’t want, it’s not necessary. You can select as well if you would like to share your position with friends or not.
Privacy is one of the main points at Twitter as well, but because the nature of Twitter, that you share everything, the controls are not very granular, yet.
At Google Buzz it haven’t been very well thought out, in the beginning. It was all or nothing, a little bit like Twitter, only the nature of Google Buzz is very different. So that’s why at the moment they are implementing more and more ,much needed, privacy controls.
Location Layer, making relations more personal?
Does the location layer make relations more personal? That’s the main question I’m asking myself. Suddenly you can make sense of different relations of relationships only by looking at the amount of times a person have been at a certain place or met a certain person.
Suddenly when I see that at Twitter, a person have been together at a company, at a certain time, it is very probable that or they work together or do business together. This brings to me a certain trust in their relationship. If I see later on that they recommended that person, it is clear that they know each other really in person.
If I see as well that someone have recommended a certain restaurant or place, but that he never have been there, I don’t take it as serious as someone who have visited that restaurant or place in the last month.
The location of a person will always be very difficult point, but with education persons about the possibilities, negative and positive, I do firmly believe that this layer will help many people.
It makes the social networks a little more personal, as well since the people are loving the great World Wide Web but are always looking for a personal touch and meeting up with people.
For me, this will be a very interesting part of where the web is going, not only the web but all the social networks and as well apps, mobile and desktop apps.. Will you be able to connect as well all the Location networks soonish all together or will they keep on working on Silos what is happening lately very often…
What is your opinion? Do you like the Location layer? Please let me know in the comments..