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August 08 2012


Smartphone owners are avid local biz searchers: Social media 76pc, news 75pc

MarketingCharts :: Smartphone owners are more likely than tablet owners to access local information (88% vs. 75%) and find local services (74% vs. 55%) on their devices, according to [pdf] August 2012 survey results from Keynote Services. In fact, among a range of activities identified, accessing local information appeared as the most common smartphone activity, ahead of searching for information (82%), participating in social media and networking sites (76%), and reading news and entertainment (75%).

A report by www.marketingcharts.com

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May 05 2012


Facebook buys location-based discovery app Glancee

An "acquihire" again?

TechCrunch :: A little under one month after its acquisition of Instagram, Facebook has acquired Highlight competitor and ambient location app Glancee. The social network has already shut down the developer’s passive location app and all three co-founders, Glancee’s only full-time employees, will join Facebook, which now owns its technology.

Continue to read Alexia Tsotsis, techcrunch.com

May 03 2012


Poll: 20pc of US consumers by by mobile, 62pc couldn’t care less

TechCrunch :: A poll from Harris Interactive, commissioned by the location-based shopping alert provider Placecast, found that only one in five people — 20% — of adult mobile owners have used their devices in the last year to purchase goods and services, whether that is at a point of sale or via a mobile app or site. As for how many consumers actually wanted purchasing functionality in their devices, 62% said it was “not at all important.”

Continue to read Ingrid Lunden, techcrunch.com

March 18 2012


Real-time location sharing service Glassmap gets clear about online privacy

GigaOM :: Software services and applications are becoming increasingly intertwined with users’ lives. And this connection is leading to increasing concerns about privacy. We have already seen service-to-user dissonance with the recent privacy controversies at Google, Apple and Path. As the co-founders of Glassmap, a real-time location sharing service, we have first hand experience with trying to resolve this dissonance. Robert Scoble recently criticized Glassmap’s registration process as a severe violation of user privacy.

Continue to read Geoffrey Woo | Jon Zhang, gigaom.com

January 01 2012


Vivek Wadhwa, WaPo: Social media will become a feature rather than the "big thing"

Washington Post :: It’s already happening in fact, as growth of social media usage has begun to slow for upstarts such as FourSquare and stalwarts such as Facebook alike. Silicon Valley has been obsessed with social media and investors have funded hundreds of “me too” start-ups to the tune of billions of dollars. There are social networks for pet owners, all manner of marginal Twitter apps, a ridiculous number of mobile photo-sharing apps, hundreds of apps targeting social media analytics and on and on and on.

[Vivek Wadhwa:] Just as location-based applications became a “feature” rather than the “big thing,” social media will live on and become an integral part of what we do.

"Five tech predictions for 2012" - Continue to read Vivek Wadhwa, www.washingtonpost.com

December 01 2011


Location based services - Foursquare rolls out new buttons for publishers

AdAge :: Foursquare is looking to increase its visibility on the web by introducing new sharing buttons for publishers that will appear side-by-side with the Facebook "Like" and Google's "+1" buttons in some cases. The buttons are being launched in partnership with Frommer's Travel, Eater.com, Time Out New York, Time Out Boston, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York Kids, New York Magazine, AskMen.com and four CBS local sites but will be available to all publishers starting today.

Reported by Cotton Delo, adage.com

June 13 2011


Future markets - Google to Motorola: Not Skyhook as location engine

Forbes :: Ted Morgan has every reason to feel bitter. Last April, just a day after his company Skyhook had announced a lucrative deal to integrate its technology on Motorola handsets, Morgan’s business partner told him some bad news. Google had called Motorola to say that the device maker’s ability to run Android was at risk, on “compliance” grounds, if the company used Skyhook’s location engine.

Is Google's influence too overwhelming?

Continue to read Parmy Olson, blogs.forbes.com

May 27 2011


CNN - Nokia cooperation to deliver mobile news and rich 3D mapping

Nokia :: Today Nokia and news network CNN have announced plans for an international agreement which will see Nokia providing rich mapping services to the network and CNN a new news app available in Nokia's Ovi Store. You may have already seen the first fruits of this collaboration when CNN used Nokia’s new 3D maps to show the route of the recent royal wedding procession in the UK.

Continue to read Jason, conversations.nokia.com

December 22 2010


How to Add Location Information to Mobile Content

Prabhas Pokharel contributed research and writing to this post.

If you're a journalist or blogger, adding location information to your content can add value to your work. This kind of data can be of particular help to journalists who report on specific communities, reporters who create venue-specific multimedia, or citizen journalists who cover events in which location is relevant.

Adding location information has many advantages. It provides more context. It also helps journalists and publishers find an interested audience because makes content more accessible for users searching for information regarding specific locations. Location information lends itself to aggregation, and content with location information can be put on maps and other visualizations, which makes it more appealing for audiences to examine. Through this, it can be used in pattern-finding. Finally, location information can leverage social media.

Location Uses

To help you get a handle on adding location information, I've identified some recent uses of location information:

  • The Online Journalism Blog showcased possibilities of using location reporting through Google latitude to present a geographic chronology of a parade.
  • Al Jazeera reporters traveled into the heart of the Sahara desert, and used location tagging to tell a photo story.
  • The Wall Street Journal has used location-based social media Foursquare in some experiments, using the platform for sharing news about Times Square bombings as well as restaurant reviews.
  • Neighborhood narratives invites students to share stories using cell phones, GPS devices, and social network games.
  • Locast is a location-based storytelling platform in which reporters and tourists tell their stories about a location using video and other tools.
  • SMS incident mapping has been used in various scenarios ranging from reports from natural disasters to tracking violent crime, citizen reporting in elections.

Geo-coding Addresses

mapmarker.jpgThe simplest way to tag content with location is to use a physical address.

Accessing location-based services on a mobile phone usually requires a smartphone that is programmable and has GPS and a data connection. For those without a smartphone, the simplest way of adding location information to content is to just use addresses and other geospatial information.

Street addresses, zip codes, and other geographical data can be converted to geographic coordinates using a process called geocoding. There are many services that will let you geocode addresses worldwide (better resources are available for the U.S.), although I'm unaware of any that you can use on a mobile without data access. GeoNames works well on a mobile web browser. There are several other geocoding APIs available that allow web and SMS applications to be built on top of them.

Automatic Location

Another option is to let software on your mobile phone automatically find your location. Doing this requires a phone that has GPS hardware, or one that can run software that can access your network setting.

Publishing this content to a blogging platform is the easiest way to include location. Some publishing platforms offer support through the mobile web, while others have location support when you use their apps. Besides blogging and microblogging tools, there are also specifically location-based social networking tools like Brightkite, Google Latitude, Gypsii, Foursquare, Gowalla, and many more. While these may not be designed for publishing significant content beyond location, they can often be used for journalistic purposes.

Another more tech-savvy approach is to develop an application that can access your mobile's location. This can either be done by accessing the handset's GPS directly, or by using a web application that interfaces with a location-aware API. One particularly useful starting point is the open source gReporter tool. Another useful starting point is a location-based platform with an open API, like Google Latitude. By building an application using Google Latitude API, you can use the apps and features Latitude users already use for reporting location, and do something interesting with the location data. Yahoo offers a similar location-based API with Fireeagle.

Platform Considerations

In order to produce interesting location-based reports, journalists need to think about the online platform where the information is aggregated and displayed, in addition to the mobile phone that is uploading location information. This parade, for example, uses Google Latitude very creatively. Many tools will not be built for journalism or for publishing; but with a bit of creativity, you can use them to publish interesting and effective location-based stories.

Of course, there are limitations to adding location information to mobile content. Most importantly are security and privacy issues -- especially when reporting in repressive media environments.

Photo by Mooi via Flickr.

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