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.
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