News / Science & Technology

Geography Meets Social Media on ‘Geosocial’ Sites

Global positioning technology tracks friends as well as directions

We’re not entirely sure what 'Foursquare teams' do or why they’re needed, but here one is.
We’re not entirely sure what 'Foursquare teams' do or why they’re needed, but here one is.

Multimedia

Audio
Ted Landphair

There’s a well-worn phrase in real estate: “location, location, location,” meaning that where a property is located, alone, means more than anything else when it comes to assessing its value.

But “location” is getting new meanings in these days of smartphones and other hand-held devices.

When satellite-based global positioning and tracking became commonly available on computers and smartphones, sales of maps and requests for directions from strangers took a nosedive. We know of people who hardly go out of the house without first checking for GPS directions.

Some apps, or phone applications, even provide real-time alerts about traffic jams, accidents, and detours.

Foursquare users are serious about keeping track of who’s ahead in competitions to be most visible at certain venues.
Foursquare users are serious about keeping track of who’s ahead in competitions to be most visible at certain venues.

A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 28 percent of adults use what it calls mobile and social-media “location services” every day. And not just to plan trips and get directions.

“Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go," said Kathryn Zickuhr, co-author of the Pew report.

What does that mean? Lots of smartphone owners get recommendations for restaurants, museums and theaters based on where they happen to be at the time. Young adults use so-called “geosocial” check-in services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, to keep track of friends’ whereabouts and pick places to meet and eat.

Foursquare users can play a game in which rivals compete to become what they call the “mayor” of a place - even an office building or a post office - just by sending out a signal that they’re in that particular location.

We’re told that a security guard here, for instance, was the “mayor” of the Voice of America for a time, reviewing our visitors’ tour and even the quality of our cafeteria food. We’re scrolling our smartphones frantically to read that.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid