Mar 14 2009

Google Street View Comes to Ireland

Category: Internet,Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 17:44

I read an article in one of today’s papers describing how Google will soon to start photographing the streets of Ireland in preparation for adding them to Google Street View. The cities that Pegman will visit are Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The online version of this article is Google takes to the streets to show the way to go in Ireland.

It would be cool to see one of the Google cars in action, and maybe even be captured :o If you are unsure what these cars look like, then take a look at Google Street View Cars.

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Feb 12 2009

Location Based Email Signatures

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 23:09

Earlier this week Google announced a new Gmail feature that lets you append your location to your email signature. This is in addition to the launch of Google Latitude last week. It seems that Google is trying to integrate location information into all of its applications!

Is anybody worried about the privacy implications of this? Not yet, but I am sure it is only a matter of time until some incident causes controversy!

Fore more details about this see New in Labs: Add your location to your signature.


Feb 07 2009

Google Latitude

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 22:20

This week Google launched a new version of Google Maps for Mobile that enables users to share their location information with their friends. So basically it realises a FriendFinder LBS! This is something that I worked on before, but neither the technology nor the market were ready at that time :(

The new software is known as Latitude, and there are both desktop and mobile versions. The privacy features seem fairly basic, so I am sure that it is only a matter of time until there is some controversial security breach!

I will try and install and review Latitude here soon! In the mean time, you can read more details about it in Google will tell your mates where you are, and you can download it from Introducing Google Latitude.

However, Latitude has been dismissed by Irish company Locle for not being social enough! Locle has an application that enables users to locate their friends. However, its application is intended to be significantly more social because it will integrate seamlessly with both Facebook and Twitter. For more details about this see Competitor to Google Latitude pitches to Facebook and Twitter.

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Jan 10 2009

Google Street View

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 18:15

I think that Google Maps is really powerful, and I love reading about, and viewing, some of its more interesting aspects (for example the high-resolution photos of a well in Chad).

I also think that Google Street View is a great extension to Google Maps, and the user interface (including Pegman) makes it really easy to use.

It is great to see that more cities in the EU are becoming available. The Spanish cities of Barcelona (or should this be the Catalan city), Madrid, Seville, and Valencia were recently added according to Spanish cities surrender to Street View. Google records the information using slightly modified cars, as seen in the Flickr group pool Google Street View Cars.

As Google Street View becomes more popular it is inevitable that people will be recorded doing unusual things. There were a few examples recently of unusual recordings that caught my attention. The system should automatically blur faces, but it does not always work.

I noticed while writing all of this there there is a new Google icon. It appears that I am not the only person who noticed this according to Google Gets A New Favicon, Again. It’s Uh.. Colorful.

For more information about Google Maps and Street View see the official Google Lat Long Blog.

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Dec 19 2008

EU Emergency Phone Number

Category: Location Based Services,Standards,TelecomsTeknovis @ 19:02

All member states within the EU must implement the number 112 for emergency calls. The idea behind this is to standardise emergency calls. Furthermore, there is an enhanced version of this known as E112 that enables the emergency services to automatically obtain the caller’s location. For more details about this see 1-1-2.

I actually had a cause to use this service once when I witnessed an incident on a motorway. It seemed to work very well, because the emergency services dispatcher told me quite accuratly where I was, although she needed me to tell her which direction I was travelling.

Anyway, I read today that Bulgaria is now E112 compliant in Europe-wide emergency number is go.

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Dec 02 2008

Location Based Services in Ireland

Category: Location Based ServicesTeknovis @ 18:22

I spent several years (maybe even too many) working in the area of Location Based Services (LBSs). Indeed, I first started working in this area before it become the next “killer application” area! I spent my time working on both the technical enablers of LBSs, and the commercial groundwork for a start-up company. Happy memories ;)

This morning I read an article titled Location, location, location – geo-commerce is here and now. The article starts with the usual scenario describing how LBSs will revolutionise our lives by changing the way we make every decision. It also claims that now is the right time for LBSs to make an impact. Different people have been saying this for years now, so I suppose that somebody might be correct some day! Maybe I am just to cynical!

The article focuses on two Irish companies that are currently developing LBSs for mass market consumption based on mobile phone and PDA technology:

  • ICAP Media has developed an “opt-in mobile-phone marketing platform” that supplies the user with discounts that can be redeemed in nearby businesses. Unfortunately, this just sounds like location aware spam to me :(
  • Tagggit has developed a virtual tagging system that allows users to leave tags in specific locations. These tags can then be read by the same user at a later stage, or shared with other users who are in the same location. This seems like a commercial application of the Stick-e Note Architecture developed by University of Kent researchers in 1997!

There are many other companies also developing LBSs in Ireland.

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