Imagine these scenario : You have just been from a trip to New York and have shared pictures on Flickr. One of the pics is of a burger shop that you loved and want to share the same with your friends on Flickr. It is normal for people to write such things on the image description area.
However, Yahoo has a better plan. In a patent filed by the company, the inventors explain the concept of a “virtual note” that can be overlaid across pictures that you have taken so that description of places captured in a photo as well as subsequent comments can happen inside the photo itself.
This is not all. The inventors talk of more embodiments. With geotagging already possible on Flickr, users may also browse across such virtual notes from a map view.
However, the most significant aspect of the invention is the use of augmented reality. The inventors describe that since these virtual notes are geotagged, accessing the service from a mobile device will gather all virtual notes geotagged to locations within a particular radius from the location of the mobile device that can be displayed to the user.
There appear to be a variety of use-cases to such an invention. Primarily this can simply serve as a tagging tool for Flickr users. However, such a tool can also grow to be a local-review feature (like Yelp?)where user reviews of places within localities can be accessed at a press of a button. And the worst use-case of all?Advertisers can use the virtual note feature to promote their places to people in the vicinity; much like Google’s ads on maps.
“Checking-in” has suddenly become sexy and every startup in town is trying to incorporate it into their core service. After Yelp and Gowalla, Facebook too is trying to introduce a “check-in” feature to users of its mobile website.
Checking in was first introduced by New York based startup, FourSquare. The service that offered reward points for multiple check-ins has proved to be extremely popular among its users that other LBS startups too have been trying to introduce the service to their users.
However unlike Yelp or Gowalla, Facebook is a massive network that can squash the ambitions of a small time startup like FourSquare. However, Dennis Crowley, Founder of FourSquare seems unfaced and is in fact enthused by the entry of Facebook which could help make checking-in the “commodity of the year”. Crowley says
“I think we’re doing this better than anyone else and I think we’ll continue to do so. We have so much stuff on the whiteboard that we haven’t even touched yet… we’re really just getting started.”
Competition in this segment is just heating up and it will be interesting to see how 2010 pans out for each of these startups.
[via Business Insider]
Local search is big and everyone is jumping into this segment. And for a fact, we all tend to realize that the local results from major search engines is nothing to brag about; except if you are in a high internet density area like New York or San Francisco.
While companies have been devising different ways to go local, Microsoft’s new technology seems to offer you very relevant local search results; except that it can be a privacy nightmare.
In a patent filed recently with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Microsoft has described a new way to rank local search results. The inventors cite the following issues with current search results
- Search engines make use of link authority to rank results. While they are good for most cases, they are not exactly relevant when a person is searching for say ‘Italian restaurants near MG Road, Bangalore’. This is because restaurants around MG Road in Bangalore might not necessarily have good PR value
- Some search engines make use of ‘click popularity’ where sites which have been clicked a higher number of times tend to be ranked higher. These sites create a positive feedback loop which does not help in showing the relevant results
To overcome these, Microsoft has proposed the usage of the users’ access log in order to study the pages visited in a specific time period and build an implicit pagerank for pages from the user log which will be used as a factor while displaying search results. So in the earlier example, if the user has visited BangaloreRestaurants.com, results from this website could fetch higher weightage than results from a site like Yelp.
Microsoft says this technology will be particularly useful while ranking pages from intranet websites. While the algorithm sounds interesting, making use of a user’s access log sounds scary. Users are not always comfortable giving third party websites access to the sites they visit. Something does not sound right in Microsoft’s plan to record this log, processing them for implicit pageranking and delivering results back to the user.
What do you think? Are the fears justified or are they unfounded?
The past few months has shown an apparently changed stance from Google. We have seen the Big G focus rather explicitly on two things – Mobile and Location based applications.
For starters, here are a few things
Google has been working on building the next big mobile platform – Android 2.1
Google is very soon bringing its own mobile handset – the Nexus One
Google was rumored to buy Yelp, the regional hotspots review website
Google distributed close to 190,000 stickers to small businesses for users to easily get info about these businesses
These are just a few of them. But it is not too difficult to fathom why. As a matter of fact, most of Google’s biggest competitors are taking the same strategy considering that location and mobile internet are going to be really big in just a few years now.
That makes us wonder, if FourSquare is a nice fish for G to catch!