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Twitter Developing Location-Based API

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the for-up-to-the-minute-online-stalking dept.

Social Networks 90

adeelarshad82 writes "Twitter developers are now working on a location-based API that will provide accurate information on your whereabouts. Developers will be able to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. The option will definitely be opt-in. Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice, and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time."

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GOATSE DEVELOPING ON LOCATION FISTING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156381)

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156435)

The tweets are coming from inside your house!

Re:oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156455)

In the basement, so go check it out and get back to us

Pseudocode (4, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156451)

function TwitterAPIGetLocation(name) {
        return name + ' is in front of a PC';
}

Re:Pseudocode (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156581)

LOL! Except that doesn't work for all those that use the iPhone, send texts etc...

There are already Twitter apps that do this and add the latitude and longitude to tweets.

Re:Pseudocode (1)

thunder.metal.rain (1622635) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156707)

Twitter has always made me feel like a stalker. I don't personally have a twitter account, but some of my friends do and I follow a few other things (though I rarely go to the website itself, when people I'm 'following' update I'll get an email), I don't need to know where they are when they post something. That makes me feel even creepier!

Re:Pseudocode (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159475)

Wrong. The whole point of Twitter is that you can text in your tweets wherever. Most people I know aren't in front of their computer when they update.

Did I fall through a vortex? (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156469)

Doesn't twitter already support this? My girlfriend and I went to the grand canyon around a year ago...I remember her taking her iPhone out and showing me how there were also a bunch of other people there twittering. It came up with a map containing their userpic, and their tweet...

Was I hallucinating this? Is my girlfriend secretly a twitter developer!?

Re:Did I fall through a vortex? (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156501)

GPS Twitter [where.com]
Twittervision [twittervision.com]
Twittermap [twittermap.com]

Could have been one of those... and I'm sure there are others.

Re:Did I fall through a vortex? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156591)

I've never used any of them and have used at least one app that does this, so that's at least four.

It's typical Twitter really. "Hey, that feature is great. Let's nick it."

professional stalkers (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157527)

All those apps should make a stalker's job much easier. I mean, think about it. You stumble over some hottie's pic on the net, so you start checking her out. You've got her twitter nickname, her myspace nickname, and you've got her phone number, her high school, names and phone numbers of all her family and freinds. But, how do you figure out exactly where she IS?

Technology is great, isn't it?

Excuse, me, gotta get back to my stalking.....

Re:professional stalkers (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#29158455)

Which is presumably why it's opt-in.

Re:professional stalkers (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159259)

Yah - so you choose the pool of ppl from which your stalker will be drawn pseudo-randomly - woohoo!

Re:Did I fall through a vortex? (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156913)

Twitter apps can set your location (many do it at the same time as you tweet), but this is a single location associated with your profile, so it will be changed as you move around. The new API assigns a geolocation to the specific tweet so you will have historical data for users location which, no doubt, someone will think of a good use for. It's pretty much building on top of the location that currently exists, but you will be able to set a "home" location that specifies the area you are in, making it easy to find people in the same town as you, for instance, but still be able to update your specific location over time.

I'm planning a service that, for a couple of bucks let cheating spouses and teenagers send tweets from a specified location and time to act as an alibi for their indiscretion/unauthorised trips to make-out point.

Re:Did I fall through a vortex? (2, Informative)

horatio (127595) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157133)

I'm looking at my iPhone running TwitterPhone right now. It supports adding my location to my tweets, and letting me search for anyone posting within a certain radius of my location. Is this just an old story, or is there something new here I'm missing?

You're not hallucinating about twitter. Maybe about the girlfriend, this is /. after all.

What's all the hub-bub? (1)

MahariBalzitch (902744) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156481)

I really cannot understand what everybody's interest in Twitter is. I've used it and read some posts and still cannot understand why it is so popular. Maybe I just "don't get it"?

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156543)

People say the same thing about MySpace, yet there is is, plodding along as strong (PINK PONIES!) as ever... Twitter and MySpace are a way for people with relatively benign and routine existences to validate themselves - I EXIST! I AM IMPORTANT... TO SOMEONE...

I have accepted that I am an uniportant tiny cog in some huge machine and no one cares to know the exact moment I take a shit (and where).

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (0)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156623)

That wooshing sound you heard was the point flying past you.

I used Twitter when the iPhone app store first launched and there were a lot of Twitter apps. Figured I'd give it a go, expecting to quit after a few tweets, but I wound up getting hooked. I think in large part due to the fact that in 140 characters you have be concise. As someone who writes a lot I enjoy the challenge (for want of a better word) of that character restriction. Plus I've found other uses for it.

For example when I've had technical issues with something, on multiple occasions I've tweeted about them and gotten an answer from somebody almost immediately.

Then there's the news thing where stories have been breaking on Twitter before pretty much anywhere else.

And of course it's hilarious when they get it wrong and Jeff Goldblum dies.

I've also met some very cool people on there and have made some good friends who I've then, in turn, played games with on Steam, Xbox Live etc...

I loathe social networking. I hate Myspace. I hate Facebook etc... But for some reason I really like Twitter.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156879)

tl;dr

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29157597)

WOW MAN! Do you have a BLOG??? Does it have every little thing you're doing posted in it? How was that hot dog? DEEELISH? Hey! I know how you feel, some kid gave ME the finger at a stop light, too. Doood! I recomend an ASS SCRATCHER for that problem you mentioned @ 12:05am. How was the pie?

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29159321)

I like my stapler. My coordinates are....

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29158223)

I've also met some very cool people on there and have made some good friends who I've then, in turn, played games with on Steam, Xbox Live etc...

Oh good grief! I'll bet you live most of your pathetic life on-line. Got a Second Life account, don't you? Get a *REAL* life!

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

skegg (666571) | more than 5 years ago | (#29162001)

in 140 characters you have be concise

Indeed !!

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156685)

Twitter and MySpace are a way for people with relatively benign and routine existences to validate themselves - I EXIST! I AM IMPORTANT... TO SOMEONE...

LOL. No doubt true (for a wide variety of reasons), but wouldn't buying a dog work just as well?

I have accepted that I am an uniportant tiny cog in some huge machine and no one cares to know the exact moment I take a shit (and where).

Oddly enough, something a dog would definitely be interested in. ;-)

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (2, Funny)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156747)

Oddly enough, something a dog would definitely be interested in. ;-)

Tell me about, one day I was using Twitter on the crapper and the dog wouldn't leave me be, so I just had to tweet about it.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156597)

I really cannot understand what everybody's interest in Twitter is. I've used it and read some posts and still cannot understand why it is so popular. Maybe I just "don't get it"?

This is what I don't like about the whole phenomena. You take something that has been mainstream technology for about ten years or more, like instant messaging, put an implementation of it on a Web site with some Javascript, market the hell out of it, and now you have a trendy new site. The same process applies to Facebook and Myspace and others.

In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it. The mainstream instant messaging clients failed for various reasons to come up with a single open standard. In fact, they often actively tried to hinder multiple-protocol IM clients. That difference is the only rational reason for the hype attributed to Twitter. The rest is just marketing and trend-following because otherwise there is nothing new and interesting going on.

I think you do "get it" and that's precisely why you don't share the interest in this trend. Of course there's nothing wrong with using a site and enjoying it but jumping on its bandwagon and indulging its hype is another thing entirely. I don't think this is about anything interesting from Twitter, but rather, is about a generation of users who probably don't understand the full implications and potential consequences of disclosing personally identifying information or of turning your day-to-day life into a public spectacle.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156645)

What I don't get is how otherwise seemingly intelligent people are, time and again, surprised by the fact that marketing works.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156717)

What I don't get is how otherwise seemingly intelligent people are, time and again, surprised by the fact that marketing works.

That's because it works for all of the wrong reasons. It works because people are easy to manipulate and shouldn't be, not because the thing being marketed is inherently a good idea. It's not fun for a reasonably intelligent person to be reminded that so many people who should be capable of making their own decisions will refuse to think for themselves. The worst part is that there's very little you can hope to do about that because the people who refuse to think don't usually see this as a problem.

A second way to answer that, is that "seemingly intelligent" people are usually good with things like logic and reasoning. The manipulation of marketing happens largely on an emotional/irrational level. In fact it often goes against basic logic, like the logic which says that a paid advertisement promoting Company A's products is not a good, unbiased source of information about Company A or its products and business practices.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156999)

Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157271)

Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."

Yes. You have hit the nail squarely on the head.

Contrary to your intent to be a tad snarky, you have exposed the actual truth.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32408652/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ [msn.com]

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157431)

Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."

As I unambiguously indicated, it's not a question of whether it's useful. I never made the argument that marketing is ineffective. That's because it's obviously effective. What I said was that it's effective because it's manipulative and that's the problem that intellectual people who have thought about it have noticed. You are pretending like I was talking about whether the ends are desired (are found to be useful) by some. No, I was talking about whether the ends justify the means and I am of the opinion that they don't. It's possible that you just honestly failed to use your reading comprehension, but to be frank, this looks like a blatant attempt at a straw man technique on your part.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29184681)

Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29189143)

Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

For most of this (sub)thread I was responding to the AC who said "supposedly intelligent people are repeatedly surprised that marketing works." That was a broad statement applicable to marketing and advertising in general and was not at all exclusive to Twitter. Otherwise I definitely agree with you. Personally, that people suddenly flock to a new brand seemingly overnight and the reasons why they act this way in large groups in short periods of time is much more interesting than the brand itself and what it has to offer. It's the group-think or the herd mentality I am looking at, as opposed to whether the stream from which the herd is drinking is clean.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29189173)

Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

For most of this (sub)thread I was responding to the AC who said "supposedly intelligent people are repeatedly surprised that marketing works." That was a broad statement applicable to marketing and advertising in general and was not at all exclusive to Twitter. Otherwise I definitely agree with you. Personally, that people suddenly flock to a new brand seemingly overnight and the reasons why they act this way in large groups in short periods of time is much more interesting than the brand itself and what it has to offer. It's the group-think or the herd mentality I am looking at, as opposed to whether the stream from which the herd is drinking is clean.

Not fond of replying to myself, but I should add that I am not without my opinions on the general utility of Twitter and I have certainly stated them throughout this thread. They are, however, opinions.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157563)

You say that like it's a bad thing. Apparently, those of us who recognize society's failings, and society's failures, are bad guys. Fine, I can live with that. If I can't, I guess I could get a twitter account, and find people who agree with me.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (2, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159441)

Apparently, those of us who recognize society's failings, and society's failures, are bad guys

Don't forget negative. If I'm screwing you over with a polite smile on my face and you have the rudeness to point this out - you're NEGATIVE!

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#29184645)

Have you pointed out the failing or failure? I'm still waiting... because stating that you think something is useless doesn't qualify. We're all about facts here.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159359)

It's not fun for a reasonably intelligent person to be reminded that so many people who should be capable of making their own decisions will refuse to think for themselves.

Even worse, those of us who are capable of thinking for ourselves are swept along in the wake of the army of n00bs as the world's companies cater for the majority 'viewpoint' :-(

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

MahariBalzitch (902744) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156677)

Thanks. I agree it is another case of hyped up over marketing. It's like Pokemon for example. It's popularity was enormous and kids that were into it really didn't know why. But they HAD TO HAVE them damn trading cards!

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (2, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156683)

In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it.

Maybe the cause of your surprise is that you're trivializing things that are actually quite important.

By making Twitter accessible via a web site, the effort required to follow a feed went from (minor, and slightly technical) to (nada). With something like Twitter, which is of only marginal value to most people, I'm guessing that using it needs to have just about zero degree of inconvenience, or else people just won't bother.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29165329)

In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it.

Maybe the cause of your surprise is that you're trivializing things that are actually quite important.

By making Twitter accessible via a web site, the effort required to follow a feed went from (minor, and slightly technical) to (nada). With something like Twitter, which is of only marginal value to most people, I'm guessing that using it needs to have just about zero degree of inconvenience, or else people just won't bother.

If people have such a low desire for something that they will only go for it when all (or nearly all) inconvenience is removed, that potentially tells me two things: 1) the people are lazy or unmotivated so when they say they want something, they do NOT mean they are willing to endure a small amount of effort or inconvenience to obtain it, and 2) Twitter's services were never very valuable to anyone or else near-zero inconvenience would not have been necessary for its explosive growth.

Either 1) is true, or 2) is true, or both of them are true. In all cases, that would mean I am recognizing that this is inherently trivial and would not mean that I am trivializing something that is inherently important.

What you are dealing with in the general public are flighty, fickle persons of the moment. They do not decide for themselves what they want. When they say they want something, they do not mean they are willing to take any and all actions which do not violate their legal/moral/ethical codes in order to obtain it. Instead, they wait for the next biggest thing to appear on the marketing stage and they jump on that bandwagon until the next biggest thing after that shows up. There is no lasting or enduring value for them, nor are there concepts like acting out of principle. Twitter has had some success because it has recognized this as its environment and has tried to adapt to that environment. That is a form of pandering and while I recognize the business case for it, it's also responsible for many of the reasons why I won't use their site and most of the other trendy sites. They are aiming themselves towards a demographic that does not include me.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156803)

I don't think this is about anything interesting from Twitter, but rather, is about a generation of users who probably don't understand the full implications and potential consequences of disclosing personally identifying information or of turning your day-to-day life into a public spectacle.

Explain the popularity of the Jerry Springer show, then. ;)

I don't fall into the the "latest generation of users" and have always considered myself a generally private person (no Facebook for me), so here's a true story to think about while you ponder the above question.

A few years back, I was sued in small claims court by an individual that claimed I owed them money. A week or so passes and I get a phone call from the producers of the Judge Judy television program. I won't go into why they thought my situation was noteworthy or why I'd be an interesting guest, but I will say that I experienced a rush of emotions that ranged from "Who the fuck are you to be calling my private number?" to "Woohoo! I'm gonna be on TV!"

It took almost an hour of conversation for me to finally say "No thanks". And an another hour to pass before I could say "WTF was I even thinking to consider the offer?" To be completely honest, however, I'm still haunted by the feeling that I missed out on some fun, public spectacle aside.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157465)

Explain the popularity of the Jerry Springer show, then. ;)

Free airfare to a major city, travel expenses, and other forms of monetary gain, not to mention fame (well, more like infamy) and "being on TV". None of those are available to the average personal-life exhibitionist on Facebook or Twitter.

It took almost an hour of conversation for me to finally say "No thanks". And an another hour to pass before I could say "WTF was I even thinking to consider the offer?"

That's the only proper answer, once the ego-boost of feeling important/famous/"on TV" is removed from the equation. That ego-boost, by the way, is neither needed nor coveted by people who have healthy fulfilling lives.

To be completely honest, however, I'm still haunted by the feeling that I missed out on some fun, public spectacle aside.

I don't think you missed much. I've never once seen a show like Judge Judy and witnessed, say, a divorcee, talking about all the gory details of her failed marriage and thought "wow, I sure wish that were me!"

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

prichardson (603676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157031)

What you're missing about twitter is that it interfaces with the text messaging network. Its value is as a mass text-messaging service.

It has nothing to do with AIM or YahooIM or ICQ or etc.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1, Interesting)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157355)

I believe it goes well beyond what can be done with IM.

In Twitter I can post on a subject, and see what hundreds of other people around the world are saying about the same subject. I can reply to what they say, and they can reply to what I say. All this in real time. I can also refer back to what was said after that fact, and link to it.

This can be done via web, SMS, or any of a dozen client apps. I can also follow individuals and subjects via RSS feeds.

A cool recent trend is that many organisations now monitor and use Twitter as a PR exercise. I once casually commented on Twitter about a missing piece of information on an obscure government website, and a week later got a reply from a government worker saying it had been fixed. I commented about how a restaurant chain had removed an item I liked from its menu, and got a reply from the restaurant with a recommendation. A friend wished out loud how much they would like this new video camera they had just heard about, and within an hour the manufacturer replied telling them of a contest in which they were giving a way a hundred of the cameras.

Try doing that with IM.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#29163305)

You slightly misunderstand.

Twitter is built around SMS text messages. The whole original concept was that you could post messages from your cell phone and other people could receive them on their cell phones; no computer needed. Also, Twitter functions more like a mailing list: rather than choosing someone from your buddy list to send a message to, you just post your message and let the recipients subscribe (follow) if they want to receive your messages. None of these are new ideas, but Twitter combined them in a unique way.

As for MySpace and Facebook, these are built around the "buddy list" concept from IM, but they're NOT designed for instant messaging (they've added IM capability, but this is an extra side feature, not the main draw of the site). Also, don't underestimate the value of the network effect: just about everyone has a Facebook account now, which means you can connect with virtually anyone through that site. It used to be that just about everyone who used the Internet for chatting had AIM, but while that meant I could use it to talk to most of my friends, it didn't include the general public. The real value of Facebook doesn't really have much to do with its technical merits.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

TheTerrorized (779893) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156741)

Follow more interesting people.

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159493)

Did you try using it to read posts from people you know? Or just random people on the Internet?

Re:What's all the hub-bub? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29160069)

I use it for group sms with a few friends, and for madlibs. It's been especially useful so long as I can't slap a new smartphone on my budget and predictive texting has always failed me, so a cheap candybar phone will not do. It's also practical because of the whole "if there's porn it means it works, if there's kitties it means it's too trivial to get blocked without pissing off people" deal that basically explains how the Iran thing managed to stay online.

oh goody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156483)

If only Twitter could stay online for more than an hour without the Fail Whale rearing its head.

Also if only Twitter could stop the bots from randomly adding people.

If only Twitter was actually good. Facebook is superior.

Great idea (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156487)

... because random strangers really need to know your physical whereabouts.

What need does this fulfill?

Re:Great idea (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156573)

flash mobs, protests, meetings etc.

Re:Great idea (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156661)

flash mobs, protests, meetings etc.

To make my question more specific: in which of those scenarios would you be disinclined to tell anyone your physical whereabouts and at the same time, would be glad that an automated system did this for you?

Take meetings, for example. I send an e-mail to a group of co-workers saying "we can meet at X place at Y time." Everyone knows the location of X and knows how to get there, so my legitimate concern about location is satisfied. If I am in a meeting room with them, obviously I know where they are at that time. So, why would I need to know where they are before Y time and why would I need to know where they go after the meeting is over? That's the only thing this system could tell me that I didn't already know. Why would I want them knowing this information about me?

What I'm looking for is "ah-ha, this is the necessity that was the mother of this invention." And I'm not finding it, at all. It really just seems to be a way for Twitter to pander to the exhibitionist tendencies of some of its users. You know, the ones who think that making every moment of their personal life a public event is somehow desirable for them and/or somehow interesting for others. It doesn't paint a good picture but it's an explanation that makes sense.

Re:Great idea (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157029)

To make my question more specific: in which of those scenarios would you be disinclined to tell anyone your physical whereabouts and at the same time, would be glad that an automated system did this for you?

Tracking location of people you attend a conference with. Sharing a road trip with friends. Treasure hunts. The list goes on.

Just because you are unable to think of a use case -- or that such use cases are not personally important to you -- does not mean such a use case doesn't exist.

Re:Great idea (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157617)

Tracking location of people you attend a conference with. Sharing a road trip with friends. Treasure hunts. The list goes on.

The problem with all of those scenarios is that there's no good way to limit that information to only the relevant parties. I don't need the world knowing my personal whereabouts because I couldn't be bothered to send an e-mail about the road trip to the handful of people with whom I want to share that information.

Just because you are unable to think of a use case -- or that such use cases are not personally important to you -- does not mean such a use case doesn't exist.

When I don't see a rational reason for a thing, you can pretend like this is about my personal tastes and preferences if that comforts you from the blow of a rational objection, but it's a bit silly. None of your scenarios there have answered my real question. If I want a person to know where I am, I will tell that person (or that group, etc.). If I don't want them to know, I won't tell them. How does an automated system that, once you opt-in, can automatically tell anyone and everyone where you are, fit into this?

Or, who is it out there who feels like "I want this person or this group to know my whereabouts, but I don't want to tell them my whereabouts, oh if only some automated system would do it for me!" Who are those people? That question remains unanswered; thus, this location system is a solution in search of a problem and that's bad when it has potential privacy issues. For any of the scenarios you listed to really answer my question, you'd first have to demonstrate how directly informing your intended audience would be so inadequate that a whole new system must be invented to automate the process. That has not happened.

Instead, I've received answers to questions I have not asked and some of them have come with smug commentary like yours that seem designed to make me feel foolish for questioning this (good luck with that). I don't think that indicates any malice on your part, but it does indicate that this new move of Twitter's is another "because we can" sort of thing that was never a response to any legitimate need. If it were otherwise, any smugness would be in terms of "it fulfills purpose X, duh, can't you see that?!" instead of this type of response.

Sometimes people like a thing for irrational reasons, because they think it's cool or interesting or because they have bought into the hype. When that's the case and you question the purpose of that thing, it's quite amusing to see the things people will do instead of admitting that either there is no good explanation that makes sense or that such an explanation is unknown to them. It's alright to like frills and frivolous things but when you pretend that there is any significance to them, you find yourself in odd (and defensive) positions like making personal matters out of objective questions.

Re:Great idea (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29160189)

1. Twitter updates can be set to private
2. On the ground, plans wreck, twitter is one more way to avoid plan-wreckage.
3. It still remains about you

Re:Great idea (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29165585)

1. Twitter updates can be set to private.

That's a good thing. However, if you set them to private you restrict them to a small hand-picked group. Just the sort of small personally-chosen group that might already know you well enough to be aware of your plans to begin with. So again this location feature seems largely frivolous.

2. On the ground, plans wreck, twitter is one more way to avoid plan-wreckage.

That's what contingency planning is for. For anything important enough that failure would be described as "plan-wreckage," I'd much rather plan properly and take these things into account. That's much better than planning poorly and hoping that some random strangers at Twitter will implement some new app to rescue me from my poor planning. If you disagree with that, I'd like a logically concise, internally consistent, detailed explanation please.

3. It still remains about you

I appreciate that you think I'm so important, but I must disagree. A legitimate question rooted in a healthy skepticism towards dubious new features does not derive its legitimacy from the person who is asking. That means your third item amounts to one of the more subtle attempts at ad-hominem argumentation that I've seen. You can try that a thousand different ways; you are not going to find one that I don't immediately see through (I wonder whether *you* see what you're doing there and why it's intellectually dishonest, even if unintentionally so). So why not just deal with my question or admit that you don't want to do so? Items 1 and 2 of your post were a step in that direction.

That would be so much easier than all of the bandwagon appeals, ad-hominem argumentation, straw man tactics, and other attempts to be clever that you will see in abundance throughout this thread. They tell me that one of two things is true: either the Slashdot crowd is unusually deceitful, or they don't know very much about argumentation and logical fallacies and believe that these tactics are valid. I think the latter case is more correct.

Re:Great idea (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29168945)

To be fair, I thought you were crtiicizing the existence of twitter in general, not just this app, which I agree seems a bit absurd, except maybe for the fact that some people's updates seem mostly to be of the "okay, I'm there" type.

Re:Great idea (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29179245)

To be fair, I thought you were crtiicizing the existence of twitter in general, not just this app, which I agree seems a bit absurd, except maybe for the fact that some people's updates seem mostly to be of the "okay, I'm there" type.

As you say, that really is a separate question. Personally I don't use it because it doesn't appeal to me. While this is not nearly as true of Twitter as it is of Myspace and Facebook, I still think a great deal of the appeal of these sites is personal vanity. The way most people would feel excited about "being on TV" is similar to what is being indulged on those sites. For these reasons, I've never shared the willingness of those users to inform random strangers of their personal lives, names, hobbies, interests, personal or personally identifying photos, and general location. I view that activity as something that could not possibly benefit me in any meaningful way but could enable some malicious individual to harm me or an employer to reject me who otherwise might not have. Anytime I encounter "no possible gains, but possible losses" the decision-making is quite simple. For other individuals, perhaps the ego-boost or perhaps the ease-of-use outweigh these concerns, but the vanity does not appeal to me and I am technically inclined so this is not the case for me.

That's not to say I don't like to communicate with people. I just like to do so on my terms, using my equipment and the software/protocols of my choice, rather than having to use someone else's systems and follow someone else's rules for how I may or may not do so.

Re:Great idea (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29184915)

've never shared the willingness of those users to inform random strangers of their personal lives, names, hobbies, interests, personal or personally identifying photos, and general location

For what it's worth - I've been posting to twitter for a while now and never once revealed any of these things. I have, however, found a number of people who write excellent haiku and short, evocative poetry(And a much higher number who write very bad forms of the same). Many others who just have amusing things to say.

That's my real objection when people say it exists only to please the vanity of the people posting -- that may capture the majority of users, but far from all.

Re:Great idea (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29184849)

I think it's more a matter of both wanting to provide the information to anyone who's interested in seeing it; and not caring if it's visible to anyone not interested.

As far as whether it's a "because we can" feature, I don't see it. There are mobile clients that already append location to every tweet -- taking space in the message itself to do so. (google - site:twitter.com myloc.me -- this turns about 280,000 such posts from just that one site). So it seems to me that the folks at twitter are adding this based on actual usage today, and not just as a new shiny feature.

Re:Great idea (1)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29161389)

What I'm looking for is "ah-ha, this is the necessity that was the mother of this invention." And I'm not finding it, at all. It really just seems to be a way for Twitter to pander to the exhibitionist tendencies of some of its users. You know, the ones who think that making every moment of their personal life a public event is somehow desirable for them and/or somehow interesting for others.

I think you arrived at your ah-ha right there.

Re:Great idea (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156651)

I don't use Twitter, but I can imagine all sorts of uses (on top of the ones WizardForce mentioned) such as just a general interest in your town/city (pretending that you can limit the the tweets/twitterers to a location), which could also be good in catastrophes, tweet: "need help" and it shows the location, depending on how accurate it is could be useful/entertaining at a large festival tweet: "check out this ____", or guiding people to a location tweet: "no no no, you took the wrong road", or "still lost" and the other person knows where they are and how to get from A to B...etc...

Other than stuff like that, it has no real use other than just idle curiosity, like twittervision [twittervision.com] which, is mildly entertaining for a few minutes, yet disgusting at the same time.

Re:Great idea (2, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157977)

What need does this fulfill?

Not sure if it's a "need" per se... but this app does mean we know where all the stupid people are. That's definitely useful.

Re:Great idea (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#29163363)

I was thinking more in lines of "natural disaster", so that the weather service can send everyone within a county a text message that there's a tornado warning.

But odds are, this will be used so that the grocery store next door to the shoe store you're shopping in can tell you about their sale on bread.

Re:Great idea (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29174141)

Well, if someone is tweeting about pooping out their breakfast, if I know their location I can make sure I'm nowhere near them.

Data retention (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156529)

"...and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time."

*face palm* Once it's on the internet, it's going to stay there til the end of days. People with billions of dollars have hired armies of lawyers to try and scrub data off the internet. They haven't yet succeeded. Hell, entire countries have tried. And to prove it... bomb president 9/11 terrorist airplane communist republican from france sucking down molitav cocktails and banging gay senators. There. Archived for infinity.

Re:Data retention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156637)

And to prove it... bomb president 9/11 terrorist airplane communist republican from france sucking down molitav cocktails and banging gay senators. There. Archived for infinity.

Could you tweet that?

location-aware microblogging isn't new. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156567)

I ditched Twitter ages ago in part because of its lack of location awareness, since that capability was offered by other services like Brightkite.

Location data will be stored indefinitely (3, Insightful)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156697)

Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice, and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time.

Fat chance, me thinks. If this catches on, you can bet there will be 3rd party services that cache and index this location data indefinitely.

Certainly makes things easier for burglars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156759)

How long before burglars say "wow, previously we had to wait someone to tweet they're out of town and know their address. Now we can just look at their tweet history and see where they live and when they're out of town! Let's apply some Web 2.0 Datamining and..."

Privacy implications (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156769)

There are some things I think location-based services, now including Twitter, need to learn from previous experience of other location-based services like FireEagle:

1. Don't require me to use any specific technology to update it. I don't have a smartphone, and don't really want one either. I have an iPod touch and I have a mobile phone. I quite like them being separate (the fact that my phone lasts a few days on standby and isn't tied to any specific provider is pretty nice). That said, I do use location based technologies: I just use some interesting ways to update them. The primary way I update my location is using the /var/log/auth.log data on my Linux machine. Whenever I log in over SSH, my computer checks to see the domain I'm logging in from. I have a file on the computer that maps the IP addresses to real street addresses, and then notifies FireEagle, Yahoo's location brokerage service, which then appears in Facebook (and also lets me go to sites like pubs.iamnear.net and find out pubs that I am near). Decouple data collection from data use. My phone doesn't know where I am - it's a pretty dumb phone. But that doesn't mean none of the gadgets or technology I use don't.

2. History isn't that much of a problem, but live data is. I don't care that the whole world knows I was wandering around central London a few days ago. I don't mind my friends knowing where I am now (so long as I have some kind of prominent kill switch that cleanses the Internet of my current location). The problem is when everyone knows where I am right now. If someone knows that I'm some particular place, they know I'm not at home - which means they can burgle my home.

3. And, well, I don't want even my friends - or, rather Facebook/Twitter type friends - to know where I live unless I tell them. What location services that hook up to social networks need is a way to say "when I am near this address, don't tell anyone".

The privacy stuff is important, and I hope Twitter take it really slowly and listen to user and developer feedback. There is a good side to location services which too much focus on privacy ignores: they let you meet up with your friends. I posted on Twitter a while back that I was working in the British Library. Within minutes, a friend responded that so was he. So we had lunch. That's pretty cool. Allowing people who know each other online to serendipitously meet up IRL is a great thing, and we need to maximize it without enabling creepy stalkers.

Is this twit shit ever (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156833)

going to die the death that it so richly deserves?

Re:Is this twit shit ever (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159529)

Just because you don't use it doesn't mean it isn't useful or desired. I know a lot of people who have as much scorn for Slashdot as you seem to for Twitter.

Re:Is this twit shit ever (1)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29160481)

Scorn for Slashdot? Why? It's just a classic forum for nerds. Twitter is a stupid fad service based on a stupid idea for stupid people who think they're important enough to track. It's another whateverScript "technology" like MySpace which was all the rage five years ago and is now all but abandoned. It amazes me that people flock to it. But, then again, people flock to a lot of really stupid things. There are sites and services for everybody I guess and that's a good thing I suppose so tweet your hearts out (I'll be reading slashdot thank you and ignoring what you're doing in 140 chars or less).

Re:Is this twit shit ever (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159963)

I like twitter for updates from folks I like (about 9), none of which I ever have or will meet (for instance, Tim O'Reilly or Penn Jilette) - interesting to get brief, casual insights into their activities, and it gives me a chance to reply (though I rarely do). It is a definite novelty, and soon the crowd will drown out the interesting bits, but until then...

I'm glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29156877)

I've opted out of twitter. I do not subscribe, I do not read. I wouldn't even know about it if I had a choice.

Why Would I Want This? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#29156919)

In a world obsessed by privacy otherwise, why would I want this -- unless I'm incapable of tweeting more than: I am here!

BrightKite (1)

Xemu (50595) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157007)

Brightkite [brightkite.com] already has a pretty decent, open location-based API, and it interfaces to twitter and facebook.

Can someone who knows about it explain what the difference between brightkite's localization and twitter's ?

I like the old days better (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157087)

I'm not quite sure wtf I/my friends/my family/any creepy fucker online/joe random/internet-equipped chimp at NASA/anyone would want to know anyone's whereabouts or what they are doing every waking moment of the second. Twitter is a 21st century abomination in itself; too much hype for 160 characters, IMHO. I can think of plenty of the most boring piped together, reg-ex'ify'd *NIX commands that serve a better purpose than some Twitter posts in the same character count. I believe people in less fortunate/democratic countries fight for their right of privacy, but it seems like all the social networking flamers feel quite happy giving that up, and to silicon America, mind you, for doing the 'in-crowd' thing. I'm pretty damn proud of myself for *not* jumping a bandwagon such as this social networking toilet spin.

Location? What about localization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29157241)

Twitter may implement irrelevant features such as location APIs but what about localization? Twitter desperately needs a way to filter tweets by country or even such basic stuff as supporting other languages besides english. When will twitter arrive to the early 90s world of software development?

Reduce twitter updates, good thing (1)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157275)

Good, hopefully alot of people realize they no longer need to update everyone where they are at all times with tweets .... actually there was never a need.

http://www.loopt.com (1)

rocketPack (1255456) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157295)

This already exists, and it's called Loopt [loopt.com] . Support for all major phones/carriers + web browser, links with twitter & facebook. What's the big deal here?

poop (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#29157395)

Poop is coming out at 1 57' 33" East, 37 28' 01 North.

New tag please... (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#29158113)

whatcouldpossiblygowrong

If they can add long/lat to a tweet... (2, Interesting)

kenh (9056) | more than 5 years ago | (#29159941)

Can they add a URL a la tinyurl.com/bit.ly/etc instead/as an option?

Maybe... (1)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29160435)

Osama Bin Laden will tweet his Jihad message to all the sleeper cells, but forget to turn off the locator and then the military sends missiles to the exact spot he is standing only to find he was in New Jersey the whole time but left an hour before the missile strike. If that happened, Twitter would finally have a purpose.

1984... (1)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29160555)

I get the feeling that the script wizards who come up with this crap were never exposed to the old post war science fiction movies or books. We're going to code our own prison around us, and in many ways we already have. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should do it. We need to exercise some common sense. This is a bunch of expensive lawsuits and criminal investigations waiting to happen. "No Judge, I couldn't have been at the scene of the crime. I have twitter proof that I was at home watching Star Trek!"

The myth of "opt in" (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#29162267)

Opt-in has to be seen in context. If you are not in control of providing the data, opt-in is a dangerous illusion.

If you have a local application which supplies data to a system you could potentially chose what information you provide (we're assuming here for a moment that the app doesn't lie to you and just flags the opted out data as "opted out" instead). In that case, only your point of origin (your IP address) also contains a degree of location information.

If, however, it's not *you* who provides location data you're out of luck. They can do what they want, and in the current ethical climate it means they'll take your data but won't tell you about it. If you're lucky you'll discover it because they use the data but you'll never be sure.

ÜberTwitter does that today, and has for awhi (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 5 years ago | (#29164121)

ÜberTwitter [ubertwitter.com] has been doing that for awhile now, probably since the first release. I've [twitter.com] been using it on my BlackBerry Bold [blackberry.com] for quite some time now, and it works great!

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