Why Hating The Geo-Location Feature On Friendfeed?

Date : 2008/11/09 In - Tech Op-Ed - Tags : , , ,
friendfeed

VentureBeat reported two days ago that Friendfeed quietly enabled the geo-location tagging feature on the feeds that transit through their powerful RSS management system. The article on VentureBeat isn’t very spicy, but if you head over to The Inquisitr, Duncan Riley offers a livelier reaction to this new addition:

It’s like when everyone on Twitter started using BrightKite and posting to their Twitter stream exactly where they were at that moment. Sorry but I couldn’t care less where you are any point in the day let alone in a play by play fashion and I really don’t see the need to broadcast where I am when I post something.

The Techcrunch ex-blogger doesn’t see the value of geo-locating blog posts, arguing that most of the time, the location where the post was written is totally irrelevant to the post itself.

Over at All Points blog, Adena Schultzberg brings up an interesting point that I haven’t seen mentioned on Mashable, The Inquisitr or VentureBeat:

Why might FriendFeed add geo? One founder is Bret Taylor, once Google Maps Product Manager.

Touché! Because the Friendfeed team was on fire these past few weeks, releasing tons of new features, doesn’t mean that they are just gadgetizing the social RSS platform. I found the automatic Twittering feature as a great strategical move towards the next microblogging trend. For example, Louis Gray says

The map shows I posted from Sunnyvale, but it’s not relevant to the post.

Well I do not entirely agree. It gives another depth to the post: It informs me where the writer is located. This is culturally very valuable. For example, it is well known that techies in the Silicon Valley have their own perception of the greatness of the Web 2.0 trend, and maybe I am not interested in knowing what a Californian thinks on this specific topic. Another example: Wall Street is going through tough times these days, and I want to read all the blog posts that contain specific keywords, AND that were posted in Manhattan. Geo-location becomes pretty powerful!

Now how would that apply for Friendfeed? I could easily see Friendfeed power other media sites with social sidebars displaying things like “What are people saying about homelessness in San Francisco?” (and you target all the tweets geo-located in San Francisco that withhold the keyword homeless), “What do people read in Paris?” (Delicious/Paris), or Amsterdam’s favorite videos (Youtube/Amsterdam)… I know that the bloggers I mentioned above are well aware of the implications of the geo-located Web. This is exactly why I find it interesting to witness such a negative reaction to such a positive evolution in our access to information.

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