Those ARE real people down there... just click and see!
Sandlines is idly pondering his No. 1 FAQ, namely “what happens next”?
I wrote a few weeks back about buzzword inflation in the form of Web 3.0, as a framework for speculation. For me, one of the key elements is going to be the increase in relevance online. And a key driver for relevance is location.
Location has long been a tricky beast to observe on the web. Local IP addresses (especially outside the US) are difficult to get right, leaving declared location (via registration data) the nearest thing we often have for an answer.
But people are pesky things, They’ve an irritating tendency (at least, irritating in this context) to move about – i.e. changing their location, therefore their criteria for relevance shifts with them…. pub vs office vs coffee shop vs living room etc.
That said, they’re pretty ingenious too. Witness the invention of devices such as the iPod Touch (on which I wrote this post) or the iPhone – or other (gasp) smartphones, PDAs, laptops, UMPCs or even the Asus EeePC. All with internet capabilities of varying levels of usefulness and usability.
And guess what? They are terrific at pinpointing location. If I use my iPod Touch with WiFi and go to Google Maps, it puts me within 500m of my actual location. And not a cellular transmitter in sight. So, an opportunity for better (ie more relevant) search results for web users; better targeting options for advertisers… a better online experience all round.
That still creates challenges: how do you generate the content that provides relevance online? It’s easy enough to get macro level local content, but the more granular stuff is much harder to obtain. Businesses old (Yell.com) and new (UpMyStreet, KnoWhere.co.uk) try, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect traditional approaches to editorial to fill the gap. You need to generate community - for communities. In other words, user generated content: reviews, listings, groups etcetera. It is happening, but there’s still a way to go.
Location is going to be critical to the Web 3.0 future. Watch this (local) space.