The New Next: The Journey's the Thing

The New Next-Johanna Beyenbach-The Journey's the ThingAt the beginning of the summer, the third annual Come Out & Play Festival hit New York with a bang - people blanketed the city, turning themselves into game pieces and using space in a creative way to have a good time. From a New York City vs. London photo scavenger hunt to a multiplayer game in which GPS triggers from mobile devices reward teams with tools to help them win, Come Out & Play capitalized on "city-size fun" by making a city the game board.

Games aren't the only things that have made places the center of focus. Over a year ago, we talked about Dodgeball and Helio's Buddy Beacon as examples of location-themed real-time documentation. We've come a long way since then: Combining geography with technology has progressed exponentially. And yet, our prediction is that it's only a hint of what's still to come.

Location-based services are nothing new to us. From tracking packages to looking up driving directions, we've been using geographic information to help us do things for years. But the current wave of geographically aware technology that has the ability to literally know where we are adds a completely new dimension to things.

Find a Place: Mobile handsets like the iPhone and Nokia Nseries devices seem to be making the biggest splash in mobile mapping, heightening services and behaviors we're already familiar with. We use to find new restaurants, bars and boutiques, for example. Now when you're in a new neighborhood and away from your computer, you can find out which restaurants are blocks away from where you're standing and how to get there. You can even add photos taken with your mobile device and write reviews while you're still there.

Find Your People: Remember Twitter, the micro-blogging platform that lets you know what your friends are doing? What about Dodgeball, which notifies your registered friends of your whereabouts every time you text? Picture these two services together and on steroids. A new Twitter client for the iPhone (and probably by the time you read this, for other handsets as well) lets you see all users who are close by, so you can know what they're doing and where they're doing it.

Find a Photo: Geo-tagging is a behavior quickly becoming ingrained in our photo-uploading activity; now a GPS-enabled mobile device can tag your photos as you upload them directly from your phone so you don't have to think about it. Handsets aren't the only players in this space, either: Eye-Fi is a wireless memory card that automatically adds location labels to photos that are uploaded to the Internet directly from your camera.

Written by Johanna Beyenbach, curated by Paul Woolmington, partner, Naked Communications. (,

Next story loading loading..