Thoughts on Being Location Aware

I really enjoyed attending last nights mashup* – Being-Location-Aware Event in London’s Docklands, after a busy day with the Street View launch in the UK, it was great to have a few drinks amongst a crowd of geeks 🙂

Privacy was again a major topic of debate, even if the rather self-selecting audience felt is was less of an issue that the media tends to report it. I think we just have to accept that there are valid concerns in particular about an individuals location and we have to be even more transparent about why and how such information is used, and as Gary of Yahoo pointed out make the use of location always an explicit opt-in.

Over time users will develop a better understanding of what sharing their location means in terms of benefits of location aware services against potential privacy costs and will be in the position to make an informed choice.

Of course the most pertinent question remains “Where is the money ?”, almost all agreed that location in itself has little value and has become part of the commodity of web mapping. The real value at the moment I suggest comes from the potential to improve the quality of local services and advertising when location is used as one of the signals to describe a users context, and maybe even their intent.

In saying that there are specialised high value applications where users are willing to pay, Traffic TV was mentioned by Jonathan Raper (from now on always @Madprof) and Kidspotter impressed.

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

4 comments

  1. David Livingstone

    Hi Ed
    Below is a link to me captured on Street View.
    In 20 minutes, without reference to my diary, I could work out the exact minute and date of this image and therefore to all other people, and places on the ‘image continuity line’. My mission to you and anyone else, if you accept it, is can you do the same with only a bit of googling? Provide the Street View links + corraborating evidence. I can send you the Lieutant Columbo-like answer with links at the end of the task and do similar for other starting points.

    Street View Link:
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=kt1+2ee&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=11.2274,34.145508&ie=UTF8&ll=51.401963,-0.304484&spn=0.011566,0.033345&z=15&iwloc=addr&layer=c&cbll=51.402069,-0.304475&panoid=uFeQScctkkrilJuldU3FeQ&cbp=12,135.86625697410503,,2,7.084942084942087
    Cheers Dave

  2. David Livingstone

    PS Ed
    I know you are probably getting loads of crap over this but I found this an intereting academic exercise and not really a threat – not getting at you – an interesting diversion from work – as for being on Street View my sad 15 minutes (seconds!) of fame
    Best Regards
    Dave

  3. Pingback: Being Location Aware | housley.me
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