Apparently I said “I don’t care what my friends are doing and I don’t want to see them on a stupid map” last week at GeoData2010 in my talk. At least that is the sentiment Jenny Watson captured and shared via twitter. No retraction from me on this, Foursquare, Gowalla etc just don’t do it for me. But so what if an ageing paleo doesn’t get the new hot LBS game? That does not mean there is not a new business model evolving, or does it?
A few weeks ago Gary Gale keynoted at wherecamp.eu and one of his points was that the vast majority of people did not have smartphones, many might not have them for several years and he also joked that people who spent their days “checking in” several times a day might want to consider getting a life.
That prompted me to wonder whether LBS games that are seeking to crowd source local data and monetise as an advertising or promotional platform might have a few problems – getting critical mass, keeping their users, proving long term value to advertisers for example. Yesterday Chris Treadaway asked the question “Are location based services all hype?” on Mashable, read the article for yourselves and decide. My answer – not quite but almost.
So back to my rant at GeoData, the point that I was trying to make was that we are still in the era where we think spatial is special and in your face location is where the value is. The future of location will be deeper within applications and the money might well not be in the consumer space.
Afterthought: This is probably a foot in the mouth post. Someone (Yahoo?) will either buy a Foursquare, Gowalla or our home grown equivalent Rummble for oodles of money and prove me wrong.