Where 2.0: The Big Conversations

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Where 2.0 is starting today. We have a full program with keynotes from Blaise Aguera y Arcas (Bing), John Hanke & Michael Jones (Google), Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp), Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land), Michael Arrington (Techcrunch), Dennis Crowley (Foursquare), Keith Lee (MyTown) and Josh Williams (Gowalla).

Here are some of the topics that will come up over the next three days.

Local Data

Any local startup has to make the decision to either build or buy their data. Either is a costly venture. Yelp, Yahoo! Local and Google’s PlacePages usefulness depend on the accuracy of their data. Attaining and maintaining that accuracy is very challenging. There are tens of thousands of local businesses with everchanging information – many of which are not online. Yelp has invested in this space and uses a combination of getting users (the Yelp Elite) to fill-in information and alert them of errors, algorithms to detect spammers and errors, and Mechanical Turk to do more tedious fact-checking.

Local Search

With concepts like PlaceRank proliferating it is becoming more and more important for businesses to think about Search for your local market. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan is going to be leading a panel on this topic. Let Danny know if you have any question for the big players. His panelists are John Hanke (Google), Blaise Agüera y Arcas (Microsoft), Tom Wailes (Yahoo) and Dylan Swift (Yelp).

Augmented Reality

Years ago satellite imagery came onto the web with a big splash. Now geodata has a new view: Augmented Reality. Though certainly not the only use, it is becoming a regular tool in mobile apps arsenal. Yelp uses it to display reviews and ratings. Someday I hope Foursquare will use it to show me where my friends are. In the months and years to come these overlays will become a normal part of the mobile experience.

Location Sharing

One of the most contested areas on the web right is location-sharing. There are two main models: active (the check-in ala Foursquare and Gowalla) and passive (always in the background ala original Loopt and Google’s Buzz). Though there are many players we know that not all of the hands have been shown. How will Twitter’s burgeoning location strategy play out? Who will buy Skyhook? Will Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Whrrl and MyTown (just to name a few, there’s actually more companies than I can list) all be able to survive?

MobileCloud

The mobile boom has brought about a number of web services that are specifically for mobile developers. Services like SimpleGeo, Bump, UrbanAirship and GeoAPI make it possible for mobile app developer to focus solely on the mobile client and leave the webservers to someone else. Will companies be willing to outsource fundamental parts of their application? Where will they draw that line?

Game Mechanics

Many mobile apps are quite famously using game mechanics to keep their users engaged. Foursquare, MyTown and Gowalla all take different approaches (and their CEOs will be here to discuss them). How will other types of apps take advantage of these new techniques?

Web Vs. Native Apps

This year’s Where 2.0 is more focused on mobile than ever before. One of the issues facing companies is whether to build their mobile app for the browser (ala Google Buzz) or for the (various) App Stores (ala Tweetie2). There are arguments for and against both approaches. App stores provide amazing distribution and access to phone functions, but the competition is fierce and supporting multiple clients is resource intensive. HTML5 (including location support and offline caching) allows web apps to *almost* reach parity with the richness of a native app, but you’re still in the browser.

Where 2.0 is in San Jose from 3/30-4/1. There are still seats available, but they are filling up.

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