Where are you right now? It's a simple question for humans to ask and answer, but for Web services, location is a complex and sometimes fuzzy concept. Right now, I'm in San Francisco, and I don't care who knows it. Where in San Francisco? That's not so public. I started writing this at home, with a specific address that I don't want to print here but that I'm OK with my friends knowing. Where's my house? It's in the Noe Valley neighborhood. Although, a real estate agent might be able to get … Read more
Gadget aficionados are well acquainted with the Slingbox, which lets you stream home TV signals to a wide variety of computers and smart phones. Less well-known is Sony's line of LocationFree products, which actually pioneered the "place-shifting" market a full year before the debut of the first Slingbox. The LF-V30 is the latest LocationFree product that Sony is hoping will steal some of Sling's thunder. The big upgrade on the $250 video streamer--slated to hit stores in September--is its component video inputs and outputs. They allow for HD-video compatibility, though the quality is ratcheted down to … Read more
Sprint Nextel said Tuesday it will use Loopt's "friend finding" technology to let subscribers track their friends.
Loopt, which also offers its location-based service on Boost Mobile, a subsidiary of Sprint, uses Global Positioning System chips in phones to allow subscribers to see where their friends are located.
To address privacy concerns, Loopt subscribers must give other Loopt users permission to track them. Subscribers also can hide from anyone in their "buddy" list at any time.
Loopt has been available on Boost Mobile since last year. And earlier this year the company said it had … Read more
Yahoo Research Berkeley has released prototype mobile phone software called Zurfer that gives people a look at Flickr that's tailored to their particular location.
The software, which requires a "beefy smart phone," shows photos taken recently in a mobile phone user's vicinity, an example of a so-called location-aware service. The software uses Yahoo's ZoneTag technology to infer location from the cell phone tower to which a user's phone is connected.
Zurfer also lets members perform more traditional Flickr tasks, including seeing contacts' new photos, searching for Flickr photos and accessing a Flickr account. All … Read more
Loki, the location aware browser plug-in updated its service for use on Macs and mobile phones earlier this week. Previously, Loki users were relegated to Windows. The new Mac version of the Loki is in fact not a toolbar like its Windows counterpart. Instead, users get contextual menu support, and pop up notifications of third party sites that have been Loki-enabled using the developer API. Loki's creators insist that people who use these services enjoy having them available all the time, just not taking up their browsers real estate--which I agree with.
Hewlett-Packard is giving the public a chance to try out one of the experimental technologies it's cooking up. HP Labs is expected to announce Wednesday the open beta of Mscapes, a suite of software applications that let anyone create interactive location-based games or tours.
The Mscapes online authoring wizard can be used to design digital overlays on a map using photos, videos, graphics, text, or audio. Anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile device running Windows Mobile can use the Mscapes client to play any of the created games as they move through the physical world.
For example, HP Labs partnered … Read more
Everytime we curse technology for one reason or another, something comes along to make us thankful for it. And as we get older, it usually involves something that helps compensate for the ravages of age on mind and body.
The latest example is one that facilitates our addled memory, called the "Photo GPS" from Jobo--a device that Gadget Review says will record "time, data, longitude, latitude, street name, country, zip code, and nearest point of interest every time you snap a photo."
We knew it was going to happen one of these days; with all this talk about telling everyone where you are, from Twitter maps to Dodgeball, it was only a matter of time before a mainstream instant-messaging service decided to integrate location-based features. Well, now we have it. Sort of.
A company called Skyhook Wireless, which appears to specialize in location-based Wi-Fi data services, has built a plugin for AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) that will allow you to share your location through Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) -- kind of an alternative to GPS. (Skyhook also created the Loki … Read more
With the release of Apple's iPhone just a few months away, we're already seeing phone companies scramble to to keep customers by adding value to their phones and services. WHERE, from start-up uLocate, is no different, providing a bevy of GPS-enabled widgets for mobile phones while managing to use a drag-and-drop Web interface. Subscription to and use of the widgets requires a monthly fee of $2.99. For now, the service works with only six of Sprint's handsets, though about a dozen more are being added next Monday.
The widgets range from weather information providers to locators … Read more