A few weeks ago I set out to create a new community for people and businesses interested in geolocation applications. GeoAppLab is a blog for the geolocation community.
The timing for such a community couldn’t be any better. I believe that in the next few years we’ll see entirely new ways of how businesses, consumers, organizations, and friends and family will communicate with each other based on their location and interests.
Geolocation services are where search was 12 years ago.
But geolocation may take it further. Search was about adding a taxonomy to information on the Web. Geolocation is about adding a taxonomy to real-world locations, adding that data to the Web, and integrating that information with where we are and what we’re doing at a certain space in time.
On top of that, geolocation will aggregate your interests and your friends as they exist within your online social networks, which are an extension, albeit a better organized extension, of your real-world networks.
Using these new services, businesses and non-profits will be able to better serve their patrons, recognizing their habits, their interests and their needs. It will enhance the noise-to-signal ratio.
I spend a lot of time in the trenches of geolocation. It’s obvious to me is that there is no certain path to the future. Foursquare and Gowalla are now the big players, but Twitter and Facebook are both making conservative moves to integrate location services into their existing network features. In one big swoop, I think either of these companies could dominate the market. I don’t know if there will be room for more than one or two services. Possibly three at the most.
Could Facebook or Twitter buy Gowalla or Foursquare? I think that’s very possible. But what that means to users is uncertain.