Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google Latitude: GeoWeb Killer App?

As if Google Earth 5.0 were not enough, Google have launched latitude:

Brady Forrest offers thoughtful discussion of it.

The Rise of Latitude (or similar technology): Unlike Brady, I'm not interested in the ins and outs of 'is this right for Google' or 'what will people build on this', my view is a bigger picture. This location sharing is an obvious killer app of mobile web devices: when we all have phones that are location aware (through GPS or other technologies) we are obviously going to want to know where friends, family or colleagues are (my discussion of the magic powered rival to this technology). Google isn't the first into this field but, as per usual, it gets the blogosphere talking so Latitude may become the dominant technology in this area.

Checking Mobile Web Maps Every Day: The history of the PC tells us that it really took off as a device when managers started buying them so they could use spreadsheets for financial calculations. Spreadsheets were the killer app of the PC, I suspect Latitude (or similar) will be the similar killer app of mobile device mapping. It will shift looking at web maps from something people do once in a while to something they do every day. Ask the man on the street what he has done with Google Earth so far and he'll answer: 'I've used it to look at the image of my garden. You can see my patio set'. In the near future, he may be looking at web maps on his iPhone 5 times a day to find out where his kids are.

And that's when GeoWeb usability may really take off.

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