Location-Awareness Technologies Shrink Distances

Sooner this morning, I released an article on the Click2Map’s blog, Maps Bring People Closer. The idea conveyed in the article was that location-awareness services are not just a way to make new geo-based connections, but they’re also a priceless tool to enhance your existing relationships.

Here is an example: My wife lives on the other side of the globe, and we also have an 18-month-young son. For practical reasons, my son is now staying with me in San Francisco where he was born. There is no need to say how tormenting it is for the mom to have her little boy live 5576.4 miles away from her. Thanks to new Web technologies, it is becoming easier to be constantly connected to one another, share our daily activities, and therefore feel closer to one another.

The location-awareness tool MyTracks dramatically helps us enhance this long-distance connection. Tonight, I took my boy on a walk around my neighborhood. I turned on the MyTracks app on my phone, and slowly headed to the Safeway to purchase diapers. When I got home, I stopped MyTracks and sent the itinerary to my wife by email, with a little message attached saying: ‘hey Mommy, I went for a walk with Daddy, here are all the places I saw today!’ With the Streetview feature, my wife can literally replicate our walk around the neighborhood. Now isn’t that the most value you can get out of location-awareness services?


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(Sorry, Blogger bug, the map above shows ads !!!?? Blogger team?)

I believe that, by experiencing an extended long-distance relationship, I am experimenting some new Web tools in a very out-of-the-box way. Seriously, I wonder if the developers of MyTracks ever thought that their tools would help bring a mom closer to her baby…

Anyhow, this is not the only way I am using Web tools to compensate a long-distance relationship. If I feel this is appropriate, I will share some more ideas on how Web 2.0 technologies can make a long-distance relationship easier to handle. If you have found yourself in the same situation, and have some original tips to share, you can imagine I am all ears 🙂

Why Hating The Geo-Location Feature On Friendfeed?

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.

Google+Twitter = What Happened To Jaiku

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As I was sorting through my feeds, I stumbled upon an article of Steve Poland: Get Neglected: Go Get Acquired by Google. He simply noticed that some companies – like Jotspot, Dodgeball, Jaiku – kinda disappeared once they were sucked in the search juggernaut.

It made me think right away of yesterday’s partnership between Twitter and Google Maps for Super Tuesday.

super tuesday google maps twitter

I don’t know what the terms of this partnership are, but it consisted of utilizing Google Maps and the Twitter community to geo-localize Twitterati talking about the elections. Even though Twitter might have used the Google Maps apps without consulting with Google, it sounds pretty unlikely. Such an important deal as Super Tuesday has to be coordinated on both Google and Twitter’s ends.

jaiku

Which leads to to ask: What happened to Jaiku? Is Steve Poland right? Have they been bought by Google to be neglected? Would Google go as far as buying out and neglect Twitter’s competitors out of love for the founder of Blogger? Honestly, I have no idea, I’m just surprised that Jaiku is slowly dying while Twitter is living la vida loca.