Posted: 08/20/10 06:00 AM
Facebook already wanted to know what you were doing, now they want to know where you’re doing it Facebook Places is a new service that lets you report where you are as you go through your day. It’s the company’s long anticipate foray into geolocation, a sort of melding of cyberspace and “meatspace” that a lot of people think will become very popular.
But it’s probably a good idea to know exactly what you’re sharing and what you’re keeping private, especially since that’s a line that has been a bit shaky on Facebook in the past.
We talk to CNET’s Molly Wood about how Places work so you can get a better handle on how to use it. We also talk to video editor Bill Cammack who posted on his web site instructions on opting out of the “location tagging” section of Places. He walks us through that.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/19/10 09:36 AM
As expected, The Face added a geolocation service.
As expected, there are privacy concerns.
More updates to come.
Posted: 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.
by John Moe // Posted: 07/06/10 11:46 AM
“Geolocation” is a word still not recognized by Microsoft Word (I’m still getting the red squiggly spell check line) but it may be where the jobs are. Tech Crunch reports on claims from the freelance tech job site Freelancer.com that jobs for geolocation are spiking sharply, up 909% from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2010. Also on the rise, jobs for freelancers who know their way around the new HTML5 standard. Weirdly, Google Buzz was being asked for too, up 126%. It’s not hard to tell that geolocation is booming, given the increasing popularity of Foursquare and major inroads being contemplated by Twitter and Facebook, but it helps to look at statistics.
By Jeff Horwich // Posted: 06/30/10 11:51 AM
Put me in the camp of people who are still mystified by Foursquare. I think they got off on the wrong foot by first entering my world as a stream of unwelcome auto-Twitter posts. And even as I wrapped my head around the idea of “checking in” and becoming the Mayor of Starbucks, that doesn’t mean I comprehended why any of this was worth giving a rip.
But even I have to admit 1.8 million people-with-nothing-better-to-do are a trend worth heeding. And this week heavy-hitters in the venture capital community — folks who usually do their research post-bubble — have weighed in with $20 million that will allow Foursquare to expand its staff of 30 and move to New York (because if there’s one thing that’s a smart move for a tech startup, it’s taking on expensive office space).
Where people still struggle to comprehend the ways in which Twitter might make money, you can see why VCs would sniff more from Foursquare than the leftover scent of too many lattes consumed during a mayoral quest. The whole premise is inextricably linked to the retail industry. If you’re checking in on Foursquare, chances are 1) you’ve already got money, since you can afford that smartphone on your hip, and 2) you’re physically in a place where more money can be spent, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or Geek Squad break room at Best Buy.
It’s almost like Foursquare was designed… to make money to begin with! Now there’s a concept. And maybe that’s why it never quite smelled right to me.
Posted: 06/24/10 08:20 AM
One of the biggest trends online is geolocation. Letting your computer or phone report where you are. It’s like a physical status update. Your friends get to know where you are, where you like to go, you might get discounts or special offers for going to certain businesses a lot. In return, tech companies get valuable data about where people are going. Foursquare is a location based social networking site that is having big growth. Twitter is incorporating geolocation functions. A lot of people think Facebook is about to dive in in a big way, and bring this idea to its nearly 500 million members. So if you haven’t run across this already, you will. You’re going to be asked more often to share information about where you are.
Thing is, the law governing who can get the information you share and what they can do with it is 24 years old. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed in 1986, before any of us were online. Today in Washington, a House Subcommittee hears testimony and proposed changes to that law. We talk to Marc Zwillinger about all this. He’s a Washington lawyer who specializes in internet practices and privacy issues and he’ll be offering testimony to Congress.
We also check in with Alissa Cooper, Chief Computer Scientist at the Center for Democracy and Technology. She co-chairs the Geographic Location/Privacy working group within the Internet Engineering Task Force.