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October 21, 2011

Focus: Location, location, location

Your Nokia is a clever little thing, and I’m willing to bet you’ve used that intelligence on one or more of the levels I’m about to discuss at least once in the past week.

It’s all about location, and the evolution of how we use our phones to correlate with our surroundings to find where we are, what’s near us, and in more recent times who is near us.

Firstly, it was all about maps, first as Ovi Maps, now as Nokia Maps. Finding directions, and being told where to turn by the dulcet tones of the lady, the chilled voice of the ‘surfer dude’ or even our Own Voice directions, Maps gets us where we’re going. For free.

Then came services such as Poynt – apps that find your location and can let you know what’s near to you. Perfect for finding a nice place for dinner, or the nearest movie theatre when the urge takes you to see the latest blockbuster. All good so far, the evolution of location-based services is helping us in our day to day life.

Then things stepped up with the sci-fi realisation of Augmented Reality, apps like Layar that allow you to not only find nearby restaurants or hotspots, but actually show their proximity to you and directions if you hold up your phone. Cool. I have actually walked into a lampost while lost in the AR world of Layar. Not cool.

And now, along with knowing where you are yourself, there are ways of knowing where your friends are too. echoecho is an example of this, and can let you know where your buddies are when you look them up. Saving all the ‘Meet me at the coffee shop’, ‘Which one?’ conversations – instead you can just be tracked down. This could potentially be a little bit scary, especially when you forget to turn it off and don’t want to be found. So is this location-based services going too far? And what’s next?

That’s for you to ponder and share your thoughts. Right down there in the comments box, please 🙂 Or @Nokia_Connects if that’s your preferred method of communication.