This post was published in August 2010, so the information in the post or about me in the sidebar may no longer be correct.


Disclaimer: this won’t be interesting if you’re one of those people who thinks location-based services are “oversharing”.

The decision between whether to use foursquare or Gowalla is as difficult as it’s ever been. I’m currently in the Gowalla camp, but seeing some of the beautiful visualisations from (here’s mine) has got me wavering. Because this is what it’s all about, actually being able to see the data that we’re ploughing into these services day after day. There’s been talk the last few days (summarised nicely by Jeremy) about whether it’s worth trusting all our data to different corners of the web. And it totally is, as long as we can see what it is we’re trusting them with.

This is what makes me giddy about people like BERG; they make really pretty things.

Here’s how London on my GowallaWalk map looks just now:

alexmuller on

As people far smarter than me have noted recently, this is where Twitter and Facebook fail (damn, I can’t remember who I read this from). There’s no easy way to see what I posted last Christmas, for example, on either of those services. But I can easily see, on a shiny Google map, every place I’ve been since January. I can see the distance I travelled with my family across South Africa. The safari camps, restaurants, beaches and shops we went to. All of which evoke memories. And that’s just plain cool.


By Chris Northwood on 24 August 2010 at 23:23:

One noticeable omission from this blog post is Google Latitude - it’s can give you really detailed information about exactly where you’ve been and the route you took there, not just your checkins

By Alex Muller on 25 August 2010 at 18:20:

That’s true Chris, I’d totally forgotten about Latitude. It’s a nice service for sure, but it doesn’t feel like it’s had the kind of engineering love (and time) that, say, Reader has. There’s a massive problem for me at the moment: it’s not (and can’t be) a background app on iOS 4. That, and is the visualisation it offers really any good?

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