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How to surf the impending geolocation wave

08/18/10 06:00 AM

Facebook holds a press event today and they’re expected to unveil a geolocation service. Most likely it will involve the ability to identify where you are when you update your status, so it’s not just what you’re doing but where specifically you’re doing it.

Geolocation is the idea of using your smart phone to report where you are as you go through your day. A company called Foursquare is the leader of this movement.  They’re best known for letting you become the honorary “mayor” of a restaurant or café if you check in there enough. It’s fun. But big tech companies like Facebook are taking it very seriously and investing heavily in the idea of geolocation.

Indeed, geolocation is supposed to be the next big thing online, the tool you won’t be able to live without. But how might you actually use it?

We talk to Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs. It’s a company that provides geolocation data to companies that build applications.  He says geolocation as it stands today can be used for three big things: socializing, safety like knowing where your kids are, and shopping.

We also talk to Baratunde Thurston, a comedian and web editor for The Onion. He’s made a sort of art project out of running for Foursquare mayor of the New York restaurant Delicatessen. Even held a rally.

He’s having fun but thinks geolocation could grow into something more valuable.

Filed Under: facebook geolocation

the Blog

Future Tense becomes Marketplace Tech Report

09/17/10 06:12 PM

Hi everyone. John Moe here. Starting Monday, September 20th, Future Tense will be going by the name Marketplace Tech Report.

Producer Larissa Anderson and I have been working closely with the folks at Marketplace ever since we took over Future Tense in May. It’s worked out great. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and together we’ll find more stories you’ll want to hear. Basically, we loved Marketplace so much we married them. And kind of took their name too. Is it creepy to compare two radio shows to a married couple? Sorry about that.

As part of the Marketplace portfolio of programs (along with Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money), Marketplace Tech Report will keep bringing you stories that explain news and trends and technology and what it all means to you. We’ll be moving to a new simpler URL:, which will go live over the weekend. We’ll be bringing our entire archive of past shows and blog posts with us but in the meantime, we’re leaving up so you can access the show archives from there as well.

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