Friday, July 18, 2008

The Marauders Map - GeoPresence

Fans of Harry Potter will know the Marauders Map helped him greatly in his adventures.

The map showed him, in real time, the Hogwarts school and where each wizard was at any given moment. (For old gaming fans - the whole concept of seeing where everyone was on a map was like Escape from Colditz boardgame - by Parker - remember that ?)

Finding latitude and longitude from triangulated cell-towers or increasingly directly from GPS chips emebedded in the phone is standard fare and there's many geo-presence mobile services that can pinpoint you and others on a mobile map in realtime.

We built an in-house rudimentary version a while ago (using LBS and Googlemaps) and then added Facebook status on top. I could see my colleagues on a map in near real-time (as long as they had their mobile switched on and were in coverage) with their FB status and they could see me.

It was immediately obvious of the need for privacy and context. (Who wants to be tracked at all times ?) Child/prisoner/friend/parcel tracking and reality mining can all genuinely useful in the right context but getting that bit right with privacy/security/rights etc... is a whole different debate. Still, the technology is there.

I suspect there will be a lot more useful services mashing mobile location together with other features (I mentioned a couple previously such as wikinear and tweet cloud) rather than ** just ** social geo-presence.

Will we see an explosion of mobile-based geo-presence mashups when everyone's got a Marauders map in their pocket ?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Social Phonebook is coming (finally) ...

Zyb have now released a beta version of their client app in addition to mobile browser access via

It's only officially available (read-optimised) for Sony Ericsson phones right now although it installed on an N78 spoofed as W910i. Here's some of the client features: geo-presence, Social Network/microblog updates and sharing PIM functions (short video below) ...

Nokia launched an IM/Chat beta client today also with geo-presence (AAS review here). The app is integrated into the phone book/contacts as a separate tab (and not the Messaging app). One of Nokia's beta-lab earlier products "Conversation" was also integrated into the phonebook/contacts as an extra tab.

We are at last starting to see integration of communi-content into the most social and useful applications on any mobile phone - the contacts/phone book, (**and I note Apple have split off Contacts from the Phone application in v2.0, so that Contacts is now separate - allowing better cross-application integration. Why did'nt the master of UI/UE do this initially is odd - calling is person-centric not function-centric**).

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Empire Strikes back?

Been away on holiday recently and didn't fancy moblogging so apologies for the lack of updates. 

Still digesting the big Symbian news but the posts below give varying viewpoints and some excellent insight if you've not already read them.

There's also an interesting podcast from David Wood of Symbian worth listening to, explaining some of the history of the deal, vision and roadmap implementation.

I'm sure there is an analogy to the Star Wars movies in here somewhere...

On a lighter note for a Friday and a related theme, you may have seen Google's Mobile Tricks campaign recently launched, and this video below fired off the imagination -  will this ever happen?