Yesterday, Google’s Marissa Mayer switched jobs from search to location. Google clearly thinks location is one of the next big things and it’s giving the location team more horsepower. As John Battelle wrote: Marissa moving to run location is big.
At the next Where 2.0 (April 19-21, 2011), we’ll look at the trends that got Google to rethink its location and mobile strategies. As Battelle notes in his post, “location is a key factor in the future of search, social, commerce, and media.” We’re going to examine those intersections and hear from the companies and people that are making the future happen.
The Where 2.0 call for proposals is open until October 25. Submit your talk idea now. Below I’ve included some of the main areas we’re expecting to cover this year.
New technologies enable a level of data collection, retrieval, and analysis never previously possible. Every data point, from what songs are most popular on a particular block to the coordinates where you last bought coffee, can now be used to guide strategic business practices.
Mapping and mobile technologies are joined at the hip, and developers have recognized that “There’s gold in them thar phones!” Companies in the Where 2.0 space are betting smartphone users will share their locations and that they’ll make gobs of money with that data, fueling the mobile platform war. As society makes a shift in privacy — or lack thereof — consumer expectations for products and services will also adjust accordingly.
Thanks to the smartphone, location has gone social. This allows users to communicate, connect, and share in new ways through powerful applications, notably Facebook Places, a seemingly innocuous feature that brought location-sharing — and privacy concerns — to 100+ million people, simultaneously. Companies are also relying on open data sets. Who will be testing the social-location limits next?
Sessions and workshops
Where 2.0 will have sessions and workshops on:
- Data Collections — Mobile apps are not just about check-ins, they’re about users and data. With more users comes more realtime data, and with more data comes the ability to get even more users via better services.
- Users vs. Features — Location apps are often so powerful, users don’t always understand what’s being done with their data. Services have to protect their users. Who is doing it successfully and what are the cautionary tales?
- Public vs. Private — Geodata is often a fact. This house is here. This person was there at this time. But just because it’s a fact doesn’t mean it should be public. Or does it?
- Ads vs. Subscriptions — Location apps need to make money and the business model debate continues to rage about the best way to go about it.
- Interfaces — Augmented reality is the interface du jour, and there is always a 2D vs. 3D debate.
- Future of Mapping — Maps are the heart of Where 2.0. There are new imagery, recording, and collection technologies that will change maps in the coming years.
- Government & Humanitarian — Location, mobile, and social technologies are being used to save lives and open governments around the world. Look no further than the use of Ushahidi in Haiti to see a successful example.