Friday, June 24, 2011

Location-Based Services - A Unique Experience?

For the past year, I've been looking into location-based services (i.e. an application running on a mobile device that offers information or entertainment based on the device/user's location). Although, I do not think that functionality of information to be situated and pertain to a given location is unique to mobile devices (see my prior post on Types of Geotargetted Information), I do think that location-based services (LBS) are a unique experience. 

The individual features of a given LBS may not in itself be unique. But when the various facets are added together I believe it is a new experience. 

Characteristics of location-based services:

  1. Location aware (i.e. can automatically detect location & deliver applicable content)
  2. Context sensitive (e.g. light levels, accelerometer, time of day, etc.)
  3. User customizable
  4. Ubiquitous access
    AND the potential for
  5. Diverse sources of information
  6. User-generated content (both to read and to create)
  7. Social networking
  8. Gaming
Having studied media for a long time now (too long, I suppose) I'm hesitant to declare anything a new phenomenon. However, other than talking to a particularly knowledge person who follows one around, I'm unaware of any other experience that offers at least the first four characteristics, let alone all of them.  Please feel free to contradict me or add additional facets of LBS.

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