Friday, January 5, 2007

Apple and Google to Blog the Globe?

What are they up to?

Will there be a Apple phone with GPS capabilities that includes automatic georeferencing of photos, videos, audio, text messages and web pages presented at MacWorld on Tuesday?

And a clever way of browsing this info automatically using your location aware iPhone or MacBook?

Users would be able to post information at a location, hanging in the air, ready to be browsed by people passing by. Imagine getting highly relevant messages, without even pressing a button, simply because you are in the vicinity and your preferences match the content of the post.

The idea of placing information on a location, making it accessible for anyone passing by, has been around for quite some time now – but nothing much has happened yet.

It is about time someone connected the dots and implemented this idea in a way that is so simple to use that not only geeks adopt and use the technology.

Apple and Google would be the perfect team to pull this off. And they are collaborating. iPhoto 6.0.5 shows evidence of this collaboration, with support for GPS coordinates and a MapURL that points to Google Maps.

AppleInsider has reported that Apple has been working on OS-level integration of an geographical mapping technology as an integral part of Leopard, its next-generation OS. It was also rumored, according to Appleinsider, to employ GPS functionality.

And Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently joined Apple's board. What is going on?

The new iWork and iLife apps may well be GPS enabled, as well as new MacBooks and of course the iPhone. This opens up endless possibilities and would put an end to the sad state of affairs that is GPS and GIS on the Mac.

If something along these lines where to happen, would Apple and Google go further than the obvious photo geotagging, turn-by-turn directions and the normal location aware services that already exists? Will they enable us to "blog the globe" and cover the earth with deep strata of information, available to be automatically sampled just by being close to it?

Perhaps not, at least not starting on Tuesday. But I hope it has been up for discussion and that Steve Jobs presents something that is at least a small step in this direction. I wouldn't want Microsoft to be the first to implement the idea.

The implementation would have to take into account how to deal with spam, bad quality information and only deliver information that the recipient finds interesting or relevant. And it has to be easy to use.

I imagine that rating and some form of classification have to be employed to enable the users to find only the hidden gems that are useful for them.

By rating the content as well as the poster and the classification, it would be possible to create a database that can be mined according to the preferences of the user. Automated forms of collaborative filtering could also be used.

"I am only interested in posts rated over 6, classified as non-commercial and they have to be in at least one of my defined areas of interest, but I will also allow any posts having a well established humour-rating higher than 8 and any automatic proximity dating/matchmaking offers and all notes about geology regardless of rating."

While travelling, you get messages like. "Hey, there is an interesting geological site nearby, a meteor crater where small pieces of lunar material still is being found from time to time."

Oh, and while they're at it, they might as well make the new iPod-video device show informational overlays over the real world using a heads-up display as suggested by IBM's J. C. Spohrer.

Other links:

Urban Tapestries

Weaving the net into your world
Location Linked Information
Local Interest GPS
Position-Dependent Services Using Metadata Profile Matching
Net Sticky Notes All Over London - Slashdot


Drew from Zhrodague said...

Neat. I wonder if they're using WiFi locations. It will take someone large enough like Google or Apple to make any use of that kind of data. I wonder how we can help.

Stephan Wehner said... is geared towards this. It also incorporates the time dimension!


KBSoftware said...

I can also see a lot of abuse to such a system. I can already imagine passing by someone ex-girlfriends house and reading some nasty blogs about her.
Stuff like this is already a big problem on the internet.

But on the other side I can see a lot of good blogs as well, reviews of restaurants as you pass by etc.

Anonymous said...

Millions of phones with cameras already have GPS chipsets...Such as the ubiquitous Razr - and a ton of the Nokia N series phones...all it would take is software to make those photos location aware

Adam said...

If this is terns out to be true, then it will give endless possibilities to what I've already been working on regarding Geo-Blogging on the Mac side of things. :)

William Loughborough said...

A step in the right direction but until it includes RIAS (Remote Infrared Audible Signage) it's limited.

The tags for a RIAS system like the one called "PointLink®"
overcome two of the fatal flaws of a GPS rendition: they work indoors and they permit pointability because of using infrared-transmitted tags that allow precise x/y/z axis location.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Apple would venture into something like this. They usually take small baby steps rather than giant leaps when trying out something new.

But I wouldn't be surprised if this could be a runaway hit if it is enginered to be easy to use and SPAM-free.

Einar Gule said...

This is the future. Transforming many of the best "World Wide Web" concepts to "where I am right now". Brilliant for yellow page search, buy/sell ads, local news publishing, blogging, dating, and video sharing. Check out one upcoming player in this field: and their demo site They also have a triangulation solution for mobile devices without gps and a fall-back solution set neigbhorhood postings and search if the carrier doesn`t support LBS.

Anonymous said...

The guy talking about the razr...

I think you are confusing GPS with GPRS.

GPS works great outdoors or in your car but have you ever tried using it in an urban environment? Forget about using it indoors also.

Maybe an assisted GPS is a solution but do you really want to give telecomms companies more money?

I guess I will wait and see if Galileo positioning system works!

Anonymous said...

Also check out Socialight for an example of a platform that's already doing this, and letting you filter virtual "sticky notes" by your interests and your social network. Socialight can use the GPS chip in your phone, WiFi positioning, or you can just key in your location on your cell phone. It also sucks in GeoRSS so you can re-publish pre-geo-tagged stuff to place.

Zec said...

You are spot on...he he

Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

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