The Google+ musings of

Jeff Jockisch

[Reshare] Location is valuable, but check-in is not the way

April 11, 2012 24 comments 0 shares 0 plus ones
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_...location data suddenly take on enormous value if they're owned and personal, rather than mere "data entry for other companies."
Location data that we control allows us to discover patterns in our lives. We can understand ourselves better and use the knowledge to be healthier and happier. We also develop an emotionally rich history._

Original post by +Alex Grossman

Life After Death of the Check-In

The first generation of location-based apps has fallen short. Most consumers don't even know location apps exist, and only a tiny minority actually use them. Today's apps focus on benefits for businesses, like being discovered by nearby shoppers, but they've failed to stir customers. Can next-generation companies like Geoloqi show us why location is valuable?

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The Foursquare-style check-in has been pronounced dead before, but here are the results of the autopsy: Delivery.com has enab...


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Jeff Jockisch April 12, 2012

I think Location is a fundamental attribute of Identity, +Brian Deyo. Extremely powerful as you note. But we have to treat it like identity and guard it jealously. We have to own it.

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

Sounds like a plan! ;')

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

Ah but I know and have seen hidden details most people don't know of in many cities too! ;) You and I just got our unique adventures via different, ahem, routes. ;) And I can be comfortably random too, because it's all there to be chosen from on the spur of the moment. I could travel with you---it'd be hilarious. ;)

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark I am in the opposite end of that spectrum. I cannot memorize a map. However, I have traveled all around the world in a serious way, including in countries where I could not speak their language, they could not speak mine, and, somehow? I could get where I was going. My method would drive you insane. I kinda sorta have an idea ( it's gotta be in that direction because it's near the ocean ), then I get sorta kinda close, then start asking people. I really enjoy the side trips and the delays (some of my best trips involved both). And then I ask someone else. And have a great time and never am stressed about it. (When I am traveling for work, I take a direct plane, train, bus and/or taxi, I never drive and am rarely late. I have never been late for a class that I'm teaching.) In Europe, I arrive really early and walk in the general direction and then ask someone. When I travel with my husband, he is like your son, all the maps memorized and it is all very efficient, but does not have that je ne sais qua of rambling around! I have a lot more fun than he does!!!!! ;') I like the journey, I even like getting lost (for a short time). I make time for the delays, so they do not stress me!!! As my great grandmother would say, I have learned to "live along the way!" ;') (BTW, all that said, I make up great itineraries for the trains, bus, taxi scenarios and can be utterly efficient if that's what I must do!) But I'd rather ramble.

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

+Meg Tufano No way. I'm a map person. No TomToms for me. But I've been spoiled. One of my kids was born with a phenomenal sense of directional memory and between us we rarely get lost. He memorizes world cities for fun.

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark Thanks. Missed that story. What a tragedy. However, ALL new technology seems to go through this kind of thing, sad as it is.

When my husband and I drove with another scientist friend of my husband in Holland, you would not BELIEVE these guys. We had the Tom-Tom giving directions, my husband insists on having a map so he kept saying, "I wonder if that's the best route," the driver (my husband's friend) kept turning different ways from the directions given by the machine to "test out" the Tom Tom, all the while I was saying to myself, "Why don't we just ASK someone where this place is!"

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

+Meg Tufano Yes. Not the good kind, that for example is revolutionizing maritime navigation.

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark Are you talking about Tom-Tom's and THAT kind of use of GPS?

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

+Meg Tufano The GPSs told them to take what were actually logging roads closed in winter, instead of one of the many normal highways through the coastal mountains to the beach cities. The same has happened through the eastern desert areas.

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark I'm sorry, not sure I understand exactly what GPS had to do with this. But I'll check in again tomorrow.

On a lighter note...Funniest story I ever heard on this was a few years ago when my husband was being given a demo at a big conference. The guy giving the talk was a little unsure of himself, lots of top brass there, all that. The speaker was very enthused about the "new" GPS and was showing off all its wonderful invasion of privacy abilities and then showed everyone where his wife was right then. (Everyone has heard this story, but it really happened.) On the map it showed she was at . . .



a motel. ;')

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

+Meg Tufano Except that we've had a couple of high profile cases in this region where people's GPSs got them into trouble, but took them out of cell range so the pinpointing benefit is lost. In Oregon there are heavily trafficked areas separated by mountain ranges or deserts with no mobile coverage, for example, directing them to leave from I-5 to cross to the beach highway (101) on what is actually a logging road and snowed in in winter. And people died.

Meg Tufano April 12, 2012

+Jeff Jockisch +Anne-Marie Clark My husband just had a briefing about how valuable GPS was in cell phones during the Haiti crisis: people called and they could pinpoint them and so know where to help.

Brian Deyo April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark ah, I see what you mean. I couldn't tell if you were thinking as a user or a place/venue. As stated above, I totally agree with you. I use Google Latitude for personal tracking and reporting for myself, but nothing else. I rarely use Foursquare because there just isn't value for me. So far no one has put together a really compelling reason for me to leave GPS on all the time. Eventually we'll get there and I think Google will be the one to do it, but the main use case is going to be something like +Project Glass where contextual information about where you are is relevant at all times. I imagine if we could see into the location tracking on the most advanced +Android phones we'd see that they use location more than we realize to customize your experience. Search, Directions, Cell coverage, Photo organization, etc. It just isn't scary obvious yet because those are things that we already did, but location has been added on top of the. The next step is the world that will be unlocked by GPS information and location awareness that was never possible before. Location based advertising is obviously coming, but things like suggested waypoints on vacations or spontaneous offers or introductions to relevant people. The kind of serendipity that humans experience when they stumble upon something unexpected but amazing will become augmented because of the context that our phones carry with them at all times.

+Jeff Jockisch have I lost my marbles on this stuff or do you think I'm headed in the right direction?

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

+Brian Deyo Other than after-visit recommendations---while still keeping an open mind---I don't (yet) see the value in broadcasting pin-point location. As a lawyer, I see a lot of downsides (some upsides, if I'm on the other side and looking for info on you), personal safety for starters. Like that "girls near you" app that got taken down. I want people to find me, but not before I find them.

That's my city, I share openly about my location, and it's great for community and for business to chat with others in the PNW, but that's very different from pin-point.

Brian Deyo April 12, 2012

+Anne-Marie Clark What do you mean you still don't see the use? The use of location based services? or the use of check-ins for local venues?

Anne-Marie Clark April 12, 2012

Ironically, that's my city in that cool map pic and photos, and location is useful to me because I'm licensed to practice in my state and want others in my state to be able to find me, but I still don't see the use.

Brian Deyo April 12, 2012

+Jeff Jockisch and we don't really talk about it in those terms. We just realized that the most important information to YOU as a user and to fellow users is information that is produced after a visit to a venue. How did you like it? What about the things in the place or the contextual information about the place. That information is what is valuable to future users. Unfortunately there isn't immediate value to the first set of users. Foursquare check-ins provide this value even if it is nominal. We are pushing straight past that and hoping to move directly towards real personal and complete information that can be very very valuable to a user. The only comforting thought in this challenge is that by nature hyper local services can be successful in very small areas. Even in a city the size of Indy, we can produce real value to users very quickly. I would even argue that based on the small amount of data we have already, there is beginning to be value for people discovering good food. The key point here is that number of check-ins just doesn't mean much. It is a popularity thing. Just like if SERP rankings were based only on popularity, real places shouldn't be either. SERPs are based on popularity, authority, and relevance. The first two are really one in the same. Relevance and Authority. That is the same thing we are going for. The difference is we have structured data that is highly specific and can easily be personalized. Man I love this stuff :)

Jeff Jockisch April 12, 2012

A checking out model that benefits the user directly -- I like that a lot, +Brian Deyo

Brian Deyo April 12, 2012

+Jeff Jockisch this is specifically why we've moved away from check-in to a better metaphor. We don't talk about it regularly but I think the information when "Checking out" is more important. In our case, that means ratings of contextual items at places. Checking in is really only valuable for the venue. There is little to no real value for the user. Lots of percieved value in ranking and scores, but what we all should be driving towards is personalized information based on previous trends and preferences. That is hard to do, but I'm constantly surprised by how poorly companies are working on it. Hopefully at +Last Bite we'll have a compelling story to tell around suggestions and predictions soon. We hope that they will be fairly transparent but provide real value to users based on previous behavior and personal preferences.

Jeff Jockisch April 11, 2012

thanks for the top on placeme, +Jeff Sayre Loading the android version of it now. :)

Jeff Sayre April 11, 2012

Speaking of user tracking, have you seen +Robert Scoble's newest post? This app will freak you out, but it's the future of, well, a lot (https://plus.google.com/u/0/111091089527727420853/posts/3iqjCACkBuz)

Jeff Jockisch April 11, 2012

Agree, +Jeff Sayre and +Rod Borghese b

Passive tracking with easy ways to share limited views with others is where we will end up.

Biggest stumbling blocks will be privacy worries and carriers looking to monetize.

Jeff Sayre April 11, 2012

This article sort of remind me of a post I wrote when Foursquare and Gowalla fist became popular, Nosquare and Nowalla: Polluting the Stream (http://jeffsayre.com/2010/03/13/nosquare-and-nowalla-polluting-the-stream/).

I agree that sensitive data like location need to be user-centrically controlled and owned.

#Nosquare #Nowalla

Rod Borghese April 11, 2012

Check-in and other similar Apps are just strange. No interest whatsoever !