Does Geo Location Matter to You?

Photo by BluEyedA73 from Flickr used under Creative Commons

As with last week, the geo news has been hot and heavy again this week, but before I get to the tidbits I’ve found interesting, let’s talk about why geo matters or doesn’t.

Unlike social, you shouldn’t be guilted into geo. Not that you were guilted into joining Twitter or Facebook, but the riskiness of joining those networks is much lower than joining a geo location service and adding all your contacts.

People seem to get this, for the most part, which is why I’m sticking with my prediction that the “where are other people” use case won’t get off the ground, and the “where am I” use case is the one that matters more to people.

Why? Because there are real incentives to telling retailers where you are, or are not, which is leading to rewards like mayor deals and virtual loyalty programs. Venues can take advantage too by encouraging others to checkin and play the game for rewards.

This symbiotic relationship between the geo location service and the retailer holds a lot of promise for consumers. Beyond the obvious capitalist applications, there are others as well, e.g. tracking travel patterns leads to better routes for you and for your city planners.

Foursquare is already partnering with BART, and it’s logical that as geo adoption increases, city officials would welcome views of how their citizens travel. Having more data always helps, e.g. yesterday’s speed data from Tele Atlas would be a nice compliment, assuming they have an API.

Need more use cases? Marshall has a bunch of other examples.Anyway, this is why I think geo location matters because it can benefit me and it produces useful data.

Your turn. Do you see potential in geo location, or is it just another fad? What would it take to get you on the bandwagon, assuming you’re not already on it?

Now, for the news bits.

Foursquare deals in your town.
Everyone likes to get a deal, and that’s one of foursquare’s attractions. However, there’s no single view of all the deals you can get in any particular city. This is likely by design, making them Easter Eggs you discover as you checkin around the town.

Now that foursquare has an API, you can get a single view, thanks to the legwork done by Arthur Klepchukov (@arvankilmer) who built (h/t TechCrunch) a Yahoo Pipe that spits out the deals for the East Bay cities Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

No worries if you don’t live in the East Bay, just modify Arthur’s pipe to check your city. Like so:

Run the pipe and get your list of deals. FYI, I had to add multiple rules to get it working.

Newspapers on foursquare?
The Metro News, a daily, free newspaper in Canada, announced a partnership with foursquare yesterday that includes restaurant reviews, city tips, to-dos and articles about Canadian points of interest. Sounds like a guide book.

This makes a huge amount of sense, since local papers should have great hyper-local content. To get people playing there are Metro badges, an iPhone giveaway and Friday specials listed in the paper.

Interesting stuff. What’s not clear is how the paper plans to make money off the content, which is presumably surrounded by ads in print. Maybe foursquare has an ad model coming.

Anyway, the timing is great, considering the Winter Olympics will shortly be taking over Vancouver, BC.

Geo is hot right now. Expect to hear more about it as the year progresses.

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