Location Isn’t A War Between Two Sides, It’s A Gold Rush For Everyone

ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, discount 2010) — In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, University at Buffalo geography students are participating in a global effort to enhance the international response and recovery effort by helping to assess damage, using images hosted by Google Earth and the Virtual Disaster Viewer, which shares imagery of disasters from various sources.

Eight graduate and undergraduate students are conducting the research, under the direction of Chris Renschler, UB associate professor of geography, in his Landscape-based Environmental Systems Analysis and Modeling Laboratory (LESAM) in UB’s Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Read more….

Raleigh, purchase
– Joanne Rohde a former executive at Red Hat is leading a new start up that leverages her expertise in open-source software and her passion for information sharing technology between health care / service providers.

Axial Exchange subscription based services  enables health care providers to use its exchange efficiently. Axial aims to create a secure network where health-care providers can exchange electronic medical information.

Editor’s note: This post was written by Joe Stump, bronchi
the co-founder of
SimpleGeo, seek
a geolocation
infrastructure company. While much of the focus in location these days is on the front-end side of things, SimpleGeo focuses on the backend, allowing startups to very easily get started with geolocation. We asked Stump to weigh-in with his thoughts on the front-end side of things, and the general state of the emerging field.

There’s been a lot of coverage lately about the location “war” between Gowalla and Foursquare. Nobody is arguing that Gowalla and Foursquare aren’t, on some levels, competing, but I do think a lot of people are missing the big picture here. Which is the impending location gold rush.

My cofounder, Matt Galligan, and I firmly believe that location is in a similar position as social was in 2001 or so. By that I mean that, at the time, social was very nascent, but exciting as it gave us a whole new view of the data we consume every day. Over the course of almost 10 years we’ve seen social get baked into everything from photo sharing to financial tools. I think that location, similarly, gives us an interesting new view of our data.

This momentum has been slowly gaining steam since, essentially, the iPhone was released. We, the developers and general nerd populous, finally had an open platform that had location (in the form of latitude and longitude of our users) baked into it. The first wave of location services made location the core feature. Much like social, this isn’t sustainable long-term. You can’t be “Some Company plus location” and expect to sustain users. Especially after Some Company enables location themselves.

Which bring us to the second wave of location, which I think was started by our friends at Foursquare. They were, in my opinion, the first product to gain traction by moving past simple location and building an experience on top of it. It’s as if co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai said, “Okay, we have location, but that’s boring. Let’s make a game out of going out with our friends!” In other words, they worked under the assumption of having location and built a compelling experience from there.

I think people who are building location-based applications need to keep two things in mind:

1. If there’s any war brewing, it’s over presence. That is the very basic question of where you and your friends are and who may know those details. Gowalla, Foursquare, Loopt, et al, if they wish to own presence, will be duking it out with Twitter and Facebook. For anyone who’s not already in this game it’s going to be very hard to break into it at this point.

2. You need to move past the mindset that location is the feature. Build products under the assumption that you have a user’s location and that you can use the social plumbing we’ve been building for the last nine years. What kind of interesting experiences can you build on top of the potent mixture of friends, location, and the real world?

So who’s going to win? More than just one company. The users are going to get more interesting and compelling experiences, some familiar names will revolutionize their products with location, and some kid in a garage we haven’t heard of is about to make us all look like fools.

I can’t wait.



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