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March 20, 2009

Where in the world are you?

GLOBAL – Following a story on the Internal Nokia Blog, there were some interesting comments on how Location will impact the experience on Ovi Store. Right now, if you’re English, but living in Finland, you’re offered the Finnish version of the Nokia website when you choose your country. Of course, that’s fine if you understand Finnish, but not so if you don’t. Given that Ovi Store will be making the most of your location in order to get the best out of it, that throws up a whole load of challenges for the folks creating the store, and the apps.

If I land somewhere, do I want Ovi Store to start serving me apps in the local lingo? Not really. It needs to know who I am (which it promises to do) but does that extend to knowing I’m not fluent in Croatian? I should certainly hope so. The addition of some simple, but crucial data capture on registration and pretty flexible preferences will ensure the right thing is done at the right time.

The scale of what we’re looking at here is huge. On the one hand we have a range of content – games, apps, ringtones, widgets – alongside a range of devices and a global community of developers and publishers. On top of all that create a store that can bring all these disparate elements together and make them available in the right place, at the right time, to the right people.

Reader Marcus Brown made the same point in a comment on yesterday’s story about the Ovi store.

“I’m British but live in France and have an E71 bought in the Nokia store in Regent Street London but have noticed that Download already offers me, for example French music and films to download.”

So it’s already an issue (of sorts) in the Download! store, but I reckon Ovi Store will be much smarter than that.

Recently I needed a Tube map for London so went on an app hunt to find one to download to my E71. It took a while, and the one I found is really good (please Mr Hutt, publish it to the Ovi Store!). It works because it gives me instant, easy access to what I need. It doesn’t do anything other than give me an image of the tube map and the ability to scroll around. Brilliant in its simplicity, and it shall stay on my phone for a long time to come.

Now though, step forward a few months into our new location-aware world. Firstly, finding such an app will be a cinch as it’ll surely be on the Ovi Store. Secondly, it should be cleverer than I want it to be. If it’s a versatile app, it’ll have metro mapping for most major cities (London, Paris, New York, Tokyo etc). If it’s smart too, it’ll utilise the location awareness of my device and, were I to find myself in one of those other cities, offer me the chance to download the correct map for my location. Or even better, have all locations stored on my device and automatically show the right one when I fire up the app. If we’re going to have location awareness, let’s enable it to do some of the work for us, right?

That for me is how location-awareness could really make our lives better. Of course, it’s only one example and I’m sure there are plenty more (feel free to add yours below).

Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Are these real problems needing a solution? You tell me.

Photo by djeems