The real location aware service

There is much talk of Location Based Services and geographical annotation these days. We either see scary LBS (network tracks you all the time, sends you Latte coupon when you walk near Starbucks) or query based services -- "based on where I am, where's the nearest good place to eat?" That's something Vindigo does without nearing a GPS, and does it fairly well.

I've been wondering about proactive location based services and annotations that work for you and protect your privacy.

One I envision works like this. Imagine your cell phone or other portable location-aware device has a big yellow button. The button, if you press it, means "The service here sucks." Not the cellular service, but the service (or quality, or prices) in the store you're currently in. Pushing the button sends your opinion to a reputation database associated with the location.

Stores will fear the button. If you hold it up and threaten to push it, they will probably snap to attention. Why? Because you and many others will also download the database into your location aware device. If you walk into a store with a high rate of complaints, your phone will ring and warn you about where you're going.

It would probably try to electrocute you if you walked into Fry's electronics.

There are many valuable servcies when you know you're looking for geographical information, but many others that can warn you of things you didn't know to ask for. That you're walking into a bad part of town or driving into bad traffic. That you're near a historical site that's of interest to you, or a store that sells something you've been looking for.

As noted, all this can happen by pre-downling the data into a device that has the GPS-WAAS or other position information. Your device looks out for your interests based on your location, which it doesn't have to transmit to anybody. Even your vote with the yellow button can be transmitted up later, so you're not tracked in real time.

heh - not a bad idea - but we will have to get our friends at Nokia et al to put this on their handsets to hook up to our location apps.. ;-)


The Wiki community

The Wiki community has to face similar abuse issues and they manage to get by okay. Wikipedia, Swiki and others are still eminently usable, despite the fact that anybody can(and has) erase any and/or all part(s) of it at any moment. I agree with this fact.

Fun idea Brad... but too open to abuse, anyone can walk in and push their button even if the service doesn't suck.
Unless it's a *trusted computer*... :-)

Been a long time, hope all is well with you and yours.

Just running around yellow-button-ing everything can probably be filtered out or smoothed out statistically. Nobody likes or trusts a complete crank or the boy who always cries wolf.

Button-pushers will have their own reputations to worry about.

Besides a non-{mediated|sponsored|spiffed|otherwise-comprimised}
reputation system is really needed and shouldn't be scared off by cries of "You'll shoot your eye out".

The Wiki community has to face similar abuse issues and they manage to get by okay. Wikipedia, Swiki and others are still eminently usable, despite the fact that anybody can(and has) erase any and/or all part(s) of it at any moment.


A note to say Hi -- for the first time since Fidonet days! Glad to see you're keeping well, indeed bettter than well since EFFing is a fine thing for you to be doing.

The yellow button is a fine idea. Somewhat relatedly, since it is now fairly common for pets to carry identification-chips under their skin, I'm looking forward to the day of the one-chip GPS system. Isn't it absurd that there can be such a thing as a lost cat -- or a lost child?

community building

Every chipped child is a chipped adult-to-be.
I am not willing to bet that a location-aware "service" that warns you about an experience you have not yet had can be trusted. Especially since every experience only exists in that moment, and then changes. It is easy to imagine distorted perceptions viral distorting the perceptions of others to the extent that important good things are killed. I can easily imagine humans being warned away from things that they would be very happily interested in. Social gatherings, for example. Political gatherings. "Dangerous area, turn left to get away immediately." Surely Dick Cheney's friends can easily use such a manipulation tool to their advantage.

Interesting to think about.

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