I was waiting for it, and finally, here it is: a google maps application to connect maps with mobile phones, in order to “trace” people’s geographical location. the application is Google Latitude, With this applicatio you can locate your mobile phone on a google map and you can also see where your friends and family are (provided that they want to make themselves traceable). You can exchange messages with them and you can decide upon activities to do. In the past there were other applications, such as Brightkite, which had similar funzionalities, but this application on Google seems more powerful to me, because it directly works on google maps, which is now commonly known by many people.
Why is it so innovative?
Because I think this is just the beginning of a big conceptual change in the use of the internet and Web 2:0 applications. So far those applications have been relatively indefferent to geographical locations, you could chat with friends on the other side of the world or those next door, but their position was not relevant, after all. Of course in facebook and with Twitter people were sometimes using messaging to take appointment or to exchange information about local happenings, this means that there was a need to bring context-neutral Web2:0 applications to reality, to local contexts. With goolge latitude people can have a rapid view of what is going on in their city/neighbourhood, check what their friends closeby are doing, and possibly retrieve local-related knowledge. In other worlds this application has a huge potential to support geographically placed communities, to support active social participation to local life, to generate social innovation
I’m thinking of using those applications for elderly people living indepdently, this should be a research project, however, at the moment I’m looking at other users of latitude, to check the potential of this application. Anyone around?