Tag Archives: location

What’s next in location? Real time tracking? Glympse

I have written several times about Foursquare, Gowalla, and all this check in apps that are more like games and that I find myself using less and less.

At the end of the day if I choose to communicate my position I would do it in two ways:

  1. Using Facebook places to let my friends (not my followers) where I am.
  2. Using an app to coordinate with people I am meeting with on our locations. This could be via Google latitude (that I don’t use) or, sending an SMS with the location with apps such as i-Finder or Kayak, or even better using Whatsapp

But now there is a new way, Glympse.

This app sends an email or an SMS not just with your coordinates, but it logs in real time your trajectory. You choose the time you want to be broadcasting that to the person or group or people you send the message.

I find it very very cool, just to say: “I’m on my way” and they can check exactly my location and the progress towards destination.


 

Evolution: Blogs to Microblogs to Twitter to Foursquare to Picplz and Instagram

Content is still the king.

In the past content was generated by a small elite of journalists, correspondents… big news agencies, or journalist with opinion and good writing.

This has been changing. They are struggling to find their place now. Traditional media is married to a physical support (paper) which is expensive to produce and distribute, it is not real time and the companies behind are not flexible and adaptable towards new models…. now we all have the tools to broadcast, write, publish our content.

Anyway, what I wanted to highlight in this blog post is that I have observed an evolution of the tools towards laziness and minimum effort.

We have the blogs, sure, and we will continue to have them, as we still have magazines and newspapers. We can build them around a topic we want or like, around our lives, our interests, our community… we can have it in isolation or being part of a blog community such as blogspot.

Then a new trend started. Not everybody has time or skills to write. In fact probably it is still a  minority. Other tools were more focused to the crowd: micro-blogs such as tumblr or posterous. Less writing. Just share something you see out there, a link a photo, …

Then twitter, with 140 characters, first in parallel with SMS, now twitter just twitter . Surprisingly it quickly became very very very popular.

Twitter is limited so a lot of complementary services were born around it: twitpic, yfrog… and even we have seen better twitter products that have ended up dieing. Products  like Buzz or Brightkite, not limited in space, handling location, photos, comments… for me far superior products… but I guess this is life. Beta was also superior to VHS and it was VHS who won.

So we have gone from Blogging to micro blogging to twittering, to twittering with location (foursquare, gowalla) to now a whole new wave of social media products:

Just take a photo with your phone, have your network, comment, like, push it to all the social media channels… no writing. Is this laziness?

Check out what is hot on this: Instagram and PicPlz

Of course they all coexist but I am curios to see how this evolves. I believe Brightkite was too early to be successful. Same with Buzz and even Wave.

In any case, everybody is in Facebook and facebook evolves and has everything: wall for short or long messages, link stories, videos, add comments, photos, checkins …  an ecosystem where everybody is and that offers everything.

Still the perception for the people is that is a closed ecosystem where all the friends are. Same for linkedin and your professional cloud.

Perception is key. Even if Facebook has attempted to change this, by trying to make things public and therefore creating a controversy on privacy issues, they are still perceived as a closed tool and the content you find there is thought as this: confidential for friends only.

There is also the fact that it is becoming too big, even at the point of threatening the Internet itself.

Are twitter and instagram and the others just for a minority of people who want to broadcast to everybody with the dream of being popular? marketing tools for individuals and companies?

A media for spreading news fast?

I’d like to read you in the comments.

Foursquare adds photos and comments, finally

Foursquare has added two heavily requested features to its popular iPhone app that should make the service significantly more social: photos and comments.

The new features let you attach photos to checkins, tips and venues, and add comments to the checkins of your friends. These social updates, released just in time for the holidays, will also get enmeshed within the rest of your Foursquarefoursquare activity and included on your history page.

With photos, you’ll be prompted to add one as you check in, in much the same manner that you’re already prompted to add a “shout” with each checkin. You can then continue to add photos after you check in that will be added to the checkin detail page — this page is also where comment activity happens.

Photos and comments will stay mostly contained to your immediate circle of friends. Photos associated with checkins will only be visible to your Foursquare friends and the other social networks you share them with. Comments, however, are only viewable by your Foursquare friends. So, should you share a photo checkin with Facebook and Twitter, the photo and the checkin will be visible but the comments can only be seen by a logged in user who you’re friends with.

As for photos associated with tips and venues, those will be public to all users with the intention of adding richer context to your picks and pans.

“The community of users that we have are already super comfortable with checkins, so adding something like this to that mix should be pretty powerful,” says Foursquare’s head of product Alex Rainert. Rainert believes photos and comments will stimulate activity in and outside the application and better support the fluid exchange of information.

Foursquare also hopes these new features will help transform the way you think about the service and your location-based activity. Eventually, the startup would like to present your personal archive — photos, checkins and comments — in a more visually arresting manner, according to Rainert. “There are interesting things you can do when people create media at places,” he says. “We hope to build creative ways to let people browse and share that history in the future.”

Rainert stressed the fact that photos and comments have been in the works for months, but were pushed out in an accelerated fashion to get them to users before the holidays. Several enhancements are already in the works, he says. Users should soon have the ability to export photos to Facebook and Flickr, better track comments and more easily access old photos, for example.

Today, however, mobile photo sharing fans already using Foodspotting, Instagram and Picplz, will be gifted with the ability to share their photos — not just their checkins — with Foursquare.

Android users can expect photos and comments sometime this week; BlackBerry owners should expect a photo and comment compatible version of their own in January.

(via mashable)

Foursquare, Gowalla: checking in is not a game…

I have written in the past about the fight of location based apps like foursquare, gowalla, tellmewhere, brightkite, Google etc… in several posts.

Now, time has passed. I have tested everything it was new. At thebeginning it was fun: having badges and mayors with Forusquare, leaving stuff and taking stuff with Gowalla… but with time I don’t really care about all this games, and that is why in my post I said I was betting for tellmewhere, which was simple, you checked in, you could add tips and add places and photos. A bit of a mix of the best of both Foursquare (which has the tips) and Gowalla that now you can add photos.

Tellmewhere, from day one had this, but, unfortunatelly, it did not have the hipe the other two have… I guess a bit like betemax and VHS… VHS was the winner but Betamax was better….

Well, now there is a disruptor in the game, and I have also talked about. Facebook places.

Facebook places has still some road to go, but at the end of the day why are we going to check in? Because we want our friends to know. Where are our friends? Probably in facebook. In Gowalla, Foursquare, twitter, you have followers mostly. Not your real friends… so that makes Facebook places, with time, the winner.

I hope they learn from the others soon, and they allow us to edit places, add new places, add photos, add tips… because honestly, we don’t care about badges, objects and other games. Maybe promotions and local based offers and advertising.

The prospects for facebook are very good. For the other two… well, I don’t used them anymore. Only once in a while.

Facebook Places Video

GrottoCenter: a comunity database for cavers

GrottoCenter is wiki-like website for cavers. The site allows cavers to share their knowledge and favourite caving locations with other cavers. GrottoCenter includes a Google Map that shows the locations of the submitted caves and the site’s members.

Currently the map shows the location 0f over 12,000 caves and 361 grottoes. As well as displaying the location of caves the map includes geological overlays for America, Australasia, Europe and the Poles.

If you click on any of the plotted caves on the map you can get further details and links to any relevant websites about the selected cave.

Facebook adds Location: Facebook Places

Finally Facebook has partnered with Gowalla and Foursquare to create Facebook Places.

They just updated the iPhone app but it is still not working. Nothing on the web yet.

A lot of questions though: How are they going to use Places? How are they going the manage check-ins? They said they were partnering with Gowalla and Foursquare but I cannot see how. Is Facebook going to kill this two successful startups?

PhotoTrackr Plus brings geotagging to Nikon DSLRs, leaves your hotshoe open

Oh sure, Nikon’s got its own solution for adding native geotagging to your existing DSLR, but the GP-1 dongle definitely has its drawbacks. Aside from sucking down around 4x more power than Gisteq’s new PhotoTrackr Plus, it also eliminates the ability to use a dedicated flash in the hotshoe while capturing GPS data. Moreover, it has to warm up every time you turn the camera on / off, and there’s just 18 tracking channels compared to the Gisteq’s 44. Regardless of the back and forth, we do appreciate the PhotoTrackr Plus’ ability to plug directly into the 10-pin terminal that few amateurs even think to recognize, though we do fear that the reliance on Bluetooth could cause issues if you stray too far from the transceiver. Still, this newfangled dongle is far superior to its past iterations, both of which simply logged data as you went and then added metadata after you synced the information with your images via PC; this dongle, however, embeds the data right away into every image. Better still, there’s even a price advantage to going third party — Nikon’s aging GP-1 is pushing $200 on many webstores, while the Gisteq apparatus can be procured right now for $179. Take your pic, as they say.

PhotoTrackr Plus Exclusively for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

New geotagging solution sure to save time and make shooting much more enjoyable for Nikon DSLR owners.

Brea, CA (PRWEB) May 28, 2010 — The world of photography has changed drastically since it began, and now that anyone who has a digital camera can attempt to go professional, there is more and more cause for serious photographers to look at tools like the PhotoTrackr Plus, found online at: http://www.gisteq.com/plus

PhotoTrackr Plus for Nikon
When you talk to professional photographers, or even serious amateurs, about camera companies you’re basically talking about either Nikon or Canon. These are the top two digital SLR camera manufacturers out there today. The GiSTEQ company has now created a unique geotagging solution specifically for one of the top brands of cameras, the Nikon. This geotagging device is designed to make tagging photos that are taken on a Nikon DSLR easier, and much more enjoyable, for any camera lover.

Digital SLR cameras are much more affordable now than they have ever been before, and some professionals in the photography business estimate that within the next ten years a vast majority of camera owners will have their own DSLR, if they don’t already. That is one reason why some believe that more GPS trackers and other gadgets are flooding the market now. But while some gadgets are simply silly, others, such as the PhotoTrackr Plus for Nikon, can actually help photographers to become better.

“It’s great that anyone who wants to experience the wonder of photography can do so, but even a consummate professional can forget where they took a specific picture, and no one wants to waste time marking where they took every photo. This device makes it quick and simple for anyone who has the right DSLR cameras to be able to geotag their photos,” said Eric Liu, the President of GiSTEQ Corp.

The PhotoTrackr Plus has a number of features attached to it that both professionals and amateurs will love, and one of the most important is that it can geocode pictures taken in RAW format. Many photographers opt to shoot in RAW so that they can easily fix any exposure mistakes that are made. The PhotoTrackr Plus allows you to geotag photos in both RAW and JPEG format. The GPS data is imported directly into your photo as you take it, so no extra steps are necessary, which speeds up the processing workflow, and there is no extra software needed to run the program, simply plug and play.

One truly unique aspect of the PhotoTrackr Plus is that it is capable of geotagging photos with the last known location, so that if you’re unable to access a satellite signal, the device will save the information until you are in sight of a satellite. Compatible cameras include the Nikon D200, D300, D300s, D700, D2X, D2Xs, D2Hs, D3, D3X, and Fujifilm S5Pro.

For more information, visit the GiSTEQ site at: http://www.gisteq.com/plus

(from engadget)

DeHood: A Location-Based Social Network for Your Neighborhood

dehood_logo_from_video.jpgThe current crop of location-based social networks mostly focus on getting users to check in and share tips about local venues like restaurants, stores and coffee shops. DeHood, which officiallylaunched earlier today, wants to bring a bit more value to its users by going beyond check-ins. The new location-based social network wants to bring a local community closer together by giving its users the ability to share news and information about deals at local shops and restaurants.

DeHood is currently only available for the iPhone (iTunes link).

Going Beyond Check-Ins: Local News and Deals

While the app allows users to check in at local venues, the focus of the app is on sharing information and helping users to discover local news and events. As the company’s CEO and founder Babak Hedayati told us last week, he wants people to be able to check the app first thing in the morning and feel informed about what’s going on in their neighborhood. This part of the app feels a bit like EveryBlock, though like many new social networks, the service currently suffers from a lack of users that contribute to the service (which, after all, only launched today). In Hedayati’s vision, regular users, as well as local officials, will soon post short, hyperlocal news updates about traffic jams, fires and deals at the local coffee shop.

dehood_screenshots.jpg

Besides the utility aspect of the app, DeHood also features some game mechanics. When checking in at some places, DeHood will display a scratch-off game where users can win titles and find special offers for a product. One interesting aspect of DeHood’s shopping section is that users can alert others of deals at local stores and verify deals that already appear in the app.

Challenge: Getting Users

While DeHood definitely has great potential, the app currently suffers from the simple fact that it doesn’t have a lot of users yet. Given that other networks like Gowalla and FourSquare already have a lot of momentum (though not the feature set of DeHood), it will be hard for DeHood (and other companies that want to enter this space) to persuade users to switch networks and build up their social networks from scratch again.

That said, though, it’s important to note that DeHood plans to offer an API for developers in the near future, and, as Hedayati told us, that the company is not an app company but a platform company. Because of this, the app itself is only a part of DeHood’s roadmap, and we might just see other developers include DeHood’s functionality in other apps in the near future.

(from readwriteweb)

How are location services going to change

I have reviewed and written several times about location services, giving you my thoughts and preferences on mobile applications such as foursquare, gowalla, tellmewhere, latitude and others.

Now I would like to try to predict what what it is going to happen to what I think is one of the key avenues for social real time media.

Location as it is now I think it will change. Now you are forced to take your phone, open an application, locate yourself using GSM triangulation and GPS, then check in at a place that should be in the list (or create a new one). Most of the apps are like games: with gowalla you leave and take stuff, with foursquare you become a mayor of a place and earn badges… and tellmewhere has (under my point of view) gotten worse, while it was the one I was betting for.

In the future we should ask ourselves why would you check in in a place. As it is now is more like a trend. Fashion. I would see it useful if you could: get information of the place where you are: menu, promotions, how many people now in, etc…

Also with the right privacy settings, see who is there, and let them know (to those you want) that you are there. This should be done without check in, at least to a close group of friends.

To do it publicly, like it is done now should be done carefully and as it is being done now, baring in mind that it is not that advisable to keep broadcasting your precise location… not safe. Some one could check you are not at home and rob you, for instance. There was a funny site where you could see were people was located so you could go and rob their houses. (It was a funny site sure, not serious).

Continuing with what we would expect from such technology is a tool to broadcast to “your” public (closed group of people) where you are, what are the tips about that place, etc… A tool where you could upload photos, videos, stream, leave tips, comment on the menu, a reward program if you go often, order from your phone products or complementary services or packages, pay,etc… The potential is huge.

This is how I see location based apps in the future. The problem I see is that most of the times venues are in buildings where there is no GPS signal, so no precision in locating people automatically. Also I see the privacy issues a key delicate topic.

check.in

I have written several times about my workflows for facebook, twitter using brightkite, one of my favourite apps.

Now with all the location-based apps there is a clear hype, but again we will start experiencing fatigue. You go to a bar and then what… you have to open brightkite, check in write a note and maybe take a photo so you share it in facebook and twitter, then foursquare and you see if someone is there, add a tip or a todo and maybe get a mayor, and then gowalla… uffff

Like pixelpipe allows you to post to all social networks. I use it to upload the photos I take to several locations at once (my server, flickr, youtube (if it is a video), expono…, check.in does the same for your location-based apps.

It is done by the guys of Brightkite so it should be good.

Check.in is an application that lets you check-in with multiple services at the same time. For the time being by invitation only.

near.me a very cool foursquare interface

I have talked about foursquare in the past.

When I first joined them they were only in a few cities and you were not able to edit places or are new ones.

Now foursquare is a completely different different tool, much more powerful and more looking like the one it had my number one in my list: tellmewhere.

I also tested gowalla and it was more sort of a game, leaving stuff and probably more to meet people. I did not like and it has been a while since I don’t try it.

The fact is that location based apps for smart phones are as I predicted, skyrocketing and looks like foursquare is the winner, even after google buzz, which includes latitude and location as well as thread conversations, but again, as I said by limiting it to gmail users would be an impediment for reaching number one, and in fact I feel the hype of buzz has gone down.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about a very nice mash up of foursquare:

near.me

A very nice graphic interface using bing and foursquare to see your friends and places you have been. Very visual and very nice.

Petty that only one of my 600 contacts uses foursquare. I guess here is not that common and I am a strange case.