links for 2010-08-30

  • Kevin: In July, Matt Brian of The Next Web reports about recent successes enjoyed by location-based network Foursquare: "Just days after securing $20 million series B round of capital, the location service has announced another big milestone – 1 million check-ins in one day."
  • Kevin: A look at the competition heating up in the location space with the launch of Facebook Places. "While some of you might think this trend marks the moment when social media jumped the shark, major media outlets and other businesses are looking to cash in on the impulse people have to overshare." I spotted this, and I think that news organisations need to pay attention to this. Geolocation has potential for news organizations, too, as demonstrated earlier this year after the foiled Times Square attack. In the days that followed, there was more than one false alarm, and the Wall Street Journal used a Times Square "check in" on Foursquare to alert others in the area that there was an evacuation.

    Editors can also use geolocation to help confirm eyewitness tips from the scenes of news events. That doesn't mean there won't be hoaxes or that the systems can't be fooled, but it's a step up from the e-mails and SMS tips we have now."

  • Kevin: Jonathan Stray of the Nieman Journalism Lab interviews my friend and former colleague Simon Rogers, the editor of The Guardian's Datablog, on the data journalism efforts at the newspaper. As Jonathan points out, most of the tools that The Guardian uses are free. Mostly free. The Guardian uses Google Docs and Google mail for much of office applications, but, of course, to use those at a business, there is a fee. However, it's less than traditional office applications. However, they also IBM's Many Eyes and time visualisation tool Timetric, both, which are free.
  • Kevin: Most location-based services in 2010 focus on retail and restaurants, but Zillow is one of a several location applications the focuses on real estate. They have iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile apps. Their CEO says that the app generates much better leads for real estate agents because people are actively out looking at homes. "Zillow’s competitors, such as Redfin, ZipRealty, Century 21,, have apps, as well."
  • Kevin: MG Siegler reports: "Future Checkin is an app that allows you to check-in to your favorite Foursquare venues automatically when you’re near them. You don’t have to do a thing besides simply have your phone on you and this app will check you in while running in the background with iOS 4."
  • Kevin: Shopkick uses the API of location-based network Foursquare to reward you for walking into a retail store in the US. The app knows when you walk into the store and gives you a reward, presumably a special offer of some sort. They also have a virtual currency called "kickbucks". They say the check-in method can't be faked. In the future, their app will know not only when you walk into a store but also where you are in the store. I suppose this would be of interest to the store because if the phone was sensitive enough it might know not only that you're in the store but also what department you were in. I think to achieve that they'll have to use Skyhook using hotspots because the GPS signal wouldn't be available in the store, but it's possible.