Chris Messina at Citizen Agency has just blogged about how he believes that geolocation data will become ubiquitous for websites to use, and this sort of contextual information about users will form a new layer of information that will available to all internet applications.
I find myself a bit skeptical, just because geolocation data has been around for so long now, and I’ve heard people saying that it will revolutionize how information is presented to us for quite some time. This concept is nothing new, though if you look at it from the perspective that Messina has provided, it’s a fairly compelling-feeling twist as a sort of infrastructure given that could and should be incorporated in the planning and development of any given internet site — particularly social ones — at their very inception.
What isn’t plain is just how integral all the locative information could be, considering the issues of unknowable error rates involved in geolocation data (see the section on “The issue of error rates” in “Geolocation: Core To The Local Space And Key To Click-Fraud Detection“) and consumer interest group resistance to pinpointing of users’ locations based upon privacy concerns (just today there was an article on how groups are complaining to the FTC about the ease of geo-pinpointing of users of mobile devices). I wish he’d touched on those aspects in some way, although I do like the techno-evangelist spin he’s provided on location as a foundational aspect in site design.
Update: Susan Mernit, formerly of Yahoo!, also points out that security is a major concern for applications like dating sites, and that there’s consumer irritation involved with some contextual advertising.
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