Where are you now?
Don’t be surprised if the guy in the Verizon commercials starts asking “Where are you now?” instead of “Can you hear me now?” While our smart phones have always had the ability to geo-locate, it seems that more recently this feature has become one of our phones’ key functions. When sending a text message for example, you can tag your location so the person on the other end knows exactly where you are. On Facebook you can send geo-coded messages and wall posts. While the technology is certainly entertaining, could it be taken too far? Or will it be a helpful tool for society?
In his recent TechCrunch post “Truth in Geolocation”, Josh Constine makes clear that with geo-location, white lies about your whereabouts have become a little bit harder to tell. Your parents, employer, spouse or anyone with a little power over you can demand verification of your location. Your word is no longer enough–your phone will tell them the truth. Could geo-location be taken one step further, making us unable to hide from the reality of Big Brother governments? Let me stop there, because before I scare you too much, I want to also point out some of the positives in geo-location:
Emergencies: Calling 911 will no longer require you to blurt out your address as you’re trying to hide from an intruder in your home. Just use geo-location, and the police will be there in minutes.
Geo-targeted Advertising: Both local merchants and national brands can take advantage of geo-targeted ads, which pinpoint users and send messaging based on their location. This enables more relevant messaging, which leads to increased customer engagement and conversion.
Gamification: Companies such as Foursquare have gamified geo-location, allowing you to compete with friends as you visit new and unique places. If you don’t know what gamification is, read this.
Spogo: Most importantly, Spogo users and partners (sports bars) will benefit from geo-location services. As fans win points and want to redeem rewards, they will be geo-targeted so that the rewards closest to them are displayed first. Users benefit because they can walk down the street to their favorite sports bar to claim a free plate of nachos. Partners benefit because Spogo increases their visibility and targets their most viable customers.
Overall, I see geo-location services as having a positive impact on communication and society, rather than a negative one. But as with all things technological, only time will tell.