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July 29, 2008

Nokia Chat: part three – location and beyond

INTERNATIONAL – Having chatted to Kristian Luoma, the guy heading up Nokia Chat, about the vision and ambitions for this new GPS instant messaging app, I decided to ask him about location-based services (LBS) and the wider picture.

As someone currently developing cutting edge mobile apps, who better to ask a personal opinion on the state of LBS and other interesting innovations in the realm of bite-size handset-based software.

In my first piece on Nokia Chat I touched on the fact that GPS pinpointing coupled with a social service could feel a little creepy. When I asked Luoma about this in relation to location-based services as a whole, it’s definitely something that’s on his radar.

“I guess my take on it is that it’s fairly challenging. No one wants to deliver a service that feels like big brother is watching over, and that anyone can see what you are doing at any given time. The biggest challenge we’ve been facing in our thinking, is in how we share location information in a way which is user friendly, totally in your control and allows you to express yourself, and isn’t one of these big brother services where you can track another person. Yeah, contextual services are the future, and there’s a tremendous amount of different things that we can do with location. It will be really interesting to see what kind of applications emerge in the coming years.”

With so much attention being placed on location, where else should we be looking for inspiration? Are there other areas, tools that haven’t been considered? For example last week saw the public beta launch of QIK, a revolutionary live mobile video streaming app, which is pushing the boundaries in a different area of mobile software evolution. So I asked Luoma where he personally thinks there may be fresh opportunities to explore, and he replied with an interesting thought:

“Time is one of the things that we’ve mostly neglected. It’s one of the ket properties of context. People have different behavioral patterns, so I might be more prone to doing something on a given day, in a certain time slots, like play golf. Combine that with contextual properties, and patterns in your life, and there might be things we can do which recognize these patterns that might be interesting”

A fresh concept indeed, and just a glimpse at how people in this pioneering area of mobile development are thinking. We truly are entering a new era of mobile software development where the boundaries are constantly being assessed and redrawn, which as users is phenomenally exciting as its happening now.

What are your thoughts on what Kristian Luoma has said? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related stories
Nokia Chat: part two – behind the scenes
Nokia Chat: part one – inspiration and vision
Nokia merges multiple personalities – Nokia Account
Nokia Chat – Instant messaging with place recognition
QIK – Live mobile video revolution begins