Connect Adds Geolocation

March 11th, 2009 2 Comments

Now, we know where you are . . . but only if you tell us.

Yesterday, Rich completed the addition of geolocation tracking to Connect. Now, when you OraTweet your location or update your Connect status with the secret phrase “@location” followed by a place (address or city or country), Connect stores your location.

Surprise, I'm in Portland

And that’s pretty much it right now.

We didn’t build much else because we’re looking for a really compelling use case. Geolocation is a border-line creepy feature that has struggled to find mainstream acceptance on the ‘tubes, e.g. you don’t see Facebook rushing to add geo-features.

Within the enterprise, you have an implicit layer of trust, safe inside the firewall away from phishing, spamming, malware, and you’re protected by internal organizations like HR and Legal. So, we’re thinking this should take away some of the geo-uneasiness.

Beyond that security blanket, Oracle has a lots of travelers, and even in a downturn, there are scads of sales people and consultants on the road all the time. Plus, many teams collaborate virtually across state and country lines, and for some odd reason, seeing a map humanizes that voice on the phone.

Don’t believe me? I used to manage a project that had people in India, and when news of that catastrophic tsunami in 2004 broke, I worried that people I knew had been affected. Luckily, in this case anyway, my Indian geography is awful, and everyone was safe. The same thing happened when news of a train wreck broke; we didn’t have Twitter then.

It’s a small thing, but seeing where that the person you work with every day sits, even if it’s just on a map, helps you feel more connected.

Anyway, we have some ideas already; I’ve polled Matt, Noel and Clayton for their input too. I’m sure Matt, our resident geo-geek, has a bunch of stuff in his head waiting to see daylight, like transposing profile tags and location to find “experts” nearby. There are loads of iPhone things Clayton could add to the Oracle People app; nice how I make work for him. Noel has thoughts around targeting content by location.

Rich is thinking about city or office pages, a la Dopplr and TripIt, that could house information about office locations, etc. I’m a fan of focusing on our offices and the services they offer. Each field office has a packet of information they provide to people who join that office, e.g. gyms, restaurants, bars, etc. Why not publish that and also add reviews, a la Yelp?

I spent six weeks in the Dallas office in 1998 and ate at the same three or so places the entire time I was there. Why, aside from being lazy? I didn’t know the area very well and didn’t feel like exploring. Having reviews would help, but also seeing who reviewed would add an easy introduction to people in a strange place.

There’s that socializing work trend again.

So, what do you think? Whether you work at Oracle or not, you work, right? What problems would geo-location solve for you?

If you’re shy and don’t want to comment, let’s have a game of email (h/t Paul).


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2 Responses to “Connect Adds Geolocation”

  1. Martin Says:

    This is cool. What I'd like is for the system to notify me when someone from my network is “nearby”. With so much telecommuting and international team working you are never quite sure who you will bump into when you are at an office. This feature could facilitate face-2-face meetups with members of your network.

    Hey, wait a minute didn't I already build this, http://www.rondayvoo.com….

  2. Jake Says:

    That comes up a lot, and I think it's a good feature to have. We should talk about what you've built with Rondayvoo; we might be able hook it into Connect, if it can live inside the firewall. Drop me a note if you're interested.

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