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July 15, 2008

Nokia Chat: how open do you want to be?

INTERNATIONAL – Last Friday we posted a story on the release of a beta version of Nokia Chat, an instant messaging micro app with GPS location-based features. Since then, I’ve been playing around with it with the team, setting it up, but have barely scratched the surface. In that first piece I simply asked “What do you think to GPS-enabled instant messaging. Good or bad?”, and one response from a reader, Sven Koerber, raised the interesting point of ‘trust’ and when you’re using a service like this – a little mentioned, yet extremely important word, that is definitely worth us all considering with regards to a location-based communication apps.

In case you missed it, here’s part of what Sven Koerber had to say, highlighting our expectations of truthfulness, and how openness is crucial for services like Nokia Chat to work effectively:

“The usefulness of such a system to a group imho depends on the negotiated level of openness regarding one’s current position and the social practices around it. If no one expects anyone to be truthful, location info is simply not useful at all. If everybody expects everybody else to be truthful and always connected, it might feel restrictive to users who’d like to “sneak away” undetected. But those’ll find a way to explain that away… There’s also a disconnect between the perceived level of usefulness of such a system: if everybody else has their status updated that’s very nice info to have. But I’d expect that being on everybody else’s radar is a much less attractive idea.”

What are your thoughts on the importance of ‘truth’ and ‘openness’ in location-based communication apps such as this? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you’re still not quite sure what Nokia Chat is all about, Phil Schwarzmann has done a smart short vid demoing it. Watch it here…

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