What Is This Place?
The question becomes how do we start to make use of that location information in more interesting ways than declaring to the world where we are. One way is to make use of location metadata. Once the location is declared as a piece of metadata, applications can begin to use it and programmatically link it to other types of relevant content.
Morriss Partee, who is chief experience officer at EverthingCU, a professional association for credit union marketing professionals, and who speaks frequently about every aspect of social networking including location awareness, believes that location will soon be a standard piece of metadata associated with just about all online content.
"Location and mapping and every other sort of web content are merging rapidly," Partee says. He believes that location data will become as common as "date created" is now. He offers photos on the iPhone as an example of how this works. "For several years now, location has automatically been embedded with all photos taken on an iPhone." He explains that when you upload your photos to a service such as Flickr, the location is transferred automatically with the photo (unless the user chooses to keep this information private).
MapHook's Link agrees and says this location-content connection has been developing over this period. "Location-based applications have been growing in functionality for the last two to three years. This is not new to consumers. They are becoming increasingly aware of the potential, so much so that they now want and expect to see and/or generate content relevant to a location" he says.
Content producers and publishers are beginning to take advantage. For instance, Springer, a scientific and technology publisher, has developed a mapping widget using Google's Map API that enables Springer (or anyone else for that matter) to present Springer content and author data on a map. Springer's VP of development, Brian Bishop, says publishers are just beginning to find ways to link location and content (both on the web and on mobile devices) using location metadata as a driver.
"I think you are starting to see publishers take advantage of location-based features more and more as they figure out how to effectively enrich their content with tagged locations and then figure out how to build interesting products around that data," he says.