The second edition of “My Location Aware Mobile Phone.
Create once and make it available everywhere
I have been experimenting with a few applications that can capture my location on my mobile phone and share this with my social networks. I was hoping to achieve a couple of ideals.
My first ideal is for the application to automatically pick up my location using the embedded GPS. Then for it to create a Twitter post that includes my status and a link to a map which shows my location. The twitter post would then be fed into my social networks, Facebook, LinkedIn, ecademy, Plaxo and FriendFeed. This way I don’t have to persuade my friends to use the same location based software to know where I am.
The other lofty ideal was to be able to use any application that could update and read my location in FireEagle so that it didn’t matter which location based application I was using or my friends were using so long as it could work with FireEagle. In which case they would all update each other.
The overriding principle has been to create once and make it available everywhere or put more simply to manage content in one place and yet have it fed to all applications. I have been attempting this with all my content creation applications such as Flickr and Delicious (see my blog post Joining up my web spaces).
Neither ideal has been totally successful although I think I have achieved a workable compromise.
The applications I have been trialling are Loki, Ipoki, Rummble and BrightKite. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which I go through at the end of this post.
Each of the applications works with FireEagle but I have been struggling with getting each application to read a location in FireEagle that has been created by another.
Only BrightKite will create a Twitter post with my status and a link to a map with my location. In fact I could probably survive on BrightKite alone. The only downside is that it has no means of automatically determining my location on my mobile.
So I have configured a compromise using EagleFeed and TwitterFeed. My location from FireEagle is read by EagleFeed which then creates an RSS feed that Twitterfeed picks up and posts into my Twitter.
This is how it looks
Comparing the four mobile location applications.
Each of these applications will work with FireEagle except that Loki cannot read your location from FireEagle.
With each of these applications you can determine the location of your friends and who is near you.
Location: Loki uses Wi-Fi to determine your location both on the PC and on the mobile. If you are not in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi hotspot then you have to manually enter the location. You have to download a mini app for the mobile to use the Wi-Fi.
Twitter Post: It won’t create a Twitter post.
Other: Loki also has a facebook add-in. You can use Loki to find nearby facilities.
Location: BrightKite uses Loki (on IE) or Geode (FireFox) to determine your location but only on the PC not on the mobile.
Twitter Post: It does create a Twitter post with your status and a link to a map of your location.
Other: BrightKite has a facebook add-in. It will also find nearby businesses.
Location: Rummble use Google Gears to determine my location I think it uses Gears to access my GPS or Wi-Fi from within the browser. There is no need to download a mobile app.
Twitter Post: It will create a Twitter post but not with a link to a map of my location.
Other: You can also use Rummble to rate various eateries and see what rates others have given and you can post an itinerary of a future journey. You can also create a blog of your journey.
Location: Ipoki uses the embedded GPS to produce a real time stream of your location, which is great if you want your friends to follow your cycle or walking route or car journey. You need to download a mini app to use the real time location facility.
Twitter Post: It doesn’t create a Twitter post.
Other: Ipoki has a facebook add-in
I will probably stick with Rummble as I love the way it picks up my location and I am normally Tweeting from a local hostelry. However most of my friends use BrightKite so if I want see which of them is near me I will have to use BrightKite. Now if BrightKite were able to determine my location using Google Gears on my mobile then……
My mobile is a Vodafone v1615 aka HTC TyTn II aka HTC Kaiser which is a GPS enabled 3G phone with Wi-Fi The other networks have their own label version of the HTC TyTN II. And no I don’t use an iPhone.
see this excellent primer on location determination on TechCrunch
the first edition of My Location Aware Mobile Phone