guest post: Location-Based Social Network Apps Are The Crowd-Pleaser; Is Presence Ready For Prime Time?

 In location

Head over to msearchgroove for my next guest post on location – with a roundup of some emerging location based applications that have started to hit the market.

A summary of the post – titled “Location-Based Social Network Apps Are The Crowd-Pleaser; Is Presence Ready For Prime Time?” is below.

In-Brief: MSG’s favourite LBS pundit Andrew Grill turns practitioner and provides a detailed look at the location services and schemes high on his radar. Read on for more on Google, Yahoo!, and Nokia, as well as a slew of cool newcomer companies sure to leave their mark.

Location isn’t just about coordinates; it’s about community. Over the last months, I watched location evolve from a nice-to-have feature to a must-have ingredient of a raft of mobile social networking services and apps sure to cross the chasm in the coming months. How can I be so sure? Because, while Internet giants Facebook, Bebo, MySpace & Co. have extended their reach to mobile, they are still working out the value propositions that will make it worthwhile for users to access their mobile sites on the move.

Real-time location, and more specifically, presence, are the features that will give their mobile sites a real boost. Play their cards right and these Internet giants may just find themselves on equal footing with made-for-mobile social networks that understood from the start how to wring real value out of real-time location and presence.

When I’m not spending time with my family, I’m trawling the Web and twittering with colleagues in search of the cool new location-based apps. As I’m not one to be satisfied with lists of URLs (they say little about the user experience), and I reckon the MSG readers community is the same, I have either tested or regularly use each app I review here.

A survey of these location-aware services allows us to divide them into two camps: Services that have location baked inside the handset through the full integration of GPS, and services that cleverly rely on some hybrid approach. Prime examples of this are Skyhook Wireless (Loki), whose Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) is the world’s first location platform to use the native 802.11 radio already on mobile devices to deliver accurate positioning worldwide. At the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended!), Google’s My Location feature builds on the company’s proprietary base station almanac. But, as I argue later in this column, this list of mobile operator Cell-IDs by physical location, operator, and network code, which Google was the first to create, has some serious gaps that other clever companies may soon rise to fill – and likely make a profit in the process.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.