US: From an average person’s standpoint, location-based service (LBS) is still kind of geeky and a lot of work. It is not for everyone yet, observes Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare – a social networking website known for LBS. Crowley was in conversation with gigaom.com.
Crowley has been experimenting with local and location for nearly a decade, first at now-forgotten city guides maker Vindigo, then at Dodgeball, a social-networking-meets-location startup that he sold to Google.
About Google, Crowley said, “Google has a noble mission statement, to collect and organise all the world’s information. I think a lot of what we are doing is taking that and putting a spin on it.”
About augmented reality, Crowley commented, “The version of augmented reality we are serving up is like, hey! There is something happening a block away that one should know about or, there is a cool piece of art around the corner that one should look at or, this is the sandwich place that your buddies are always talking about. All the little things that we’re doing — we’re kind of building that platform and ecosystem that enable such things to happen.”
Crowley agreed that now, location is defining all content and data consumption experiences. He added, “The hard thing to figure out is its context. You’ve got the phone as the centre of the network, so it’s collecting all these data points. The next big thing to figure out is the contextual relevance of all that. Are you moving? Are you with friends? Where are you? Where have you been? Where are you headed?”
“All that stuff is interesting. You can take that stuff in and you can use that to make these choices and these decisions and hopefully serve up some interesting content. And, I think it is happening.”
About Facebook’s expertise in mapping real people together, Crowley said, “Everything that is going on with social media is about sharing photos and about sharing links, sharing videos and sharing ideas. It goes back to the core experience we had with Friendster. So Facebook is and it is thousand times better than Friendster. But, I still don’t feel like it’s working as hard for you as it should be. It is like when you step away from it, it is still there, and people are still sharing stuff, but it’s not surfacing. It is not making the way that I interact with the physical world better. It might connect me with people who obviously live in the real world, but it’s not connecting to me to the world in general.”