If you’ve been following the tech-news reel in recent weeks, you probably would have heard of Twitter’s new endeavour into geo-targeted search. It’s new, it’s fresh and it’s exciting – but what purpose does it serve?
For years now, Google Places (Maps) has been firmly planted at the helm in determining the direction of geographic search through its innovation and technological progression.
Twitter Places, despite a suspiciously similar branding, aims to serve an alternative purpose. It is entirely user-generated.
Twitter Places allows users to assign their tweets to the context of their location. What this means is, if you’re attending a rock concert for example, you can tie the location of the venue to your tweet – all tweets posted from the venue are aggregated into their own feed on their own unique page identity.
Anyone that decides to view tweets from a certain location, say for example the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, will be presented with all user data emanating from that specific geographic location.
If fifty people tweet about how horrible the Black Eyed Peas are live, then you’ll definitely find out about it via Twitter Places.
Twitter’s intention with Twitter Places is to go multi-national, and will make the new feature available to 65 countries worldwide.
Now, there’s a lot of speculation that Twitter Places will usurp Google Maps from its almighty geographical search throne – but this simply isn’t true.
For one, Twitter Places will be using Maps data – keeping in mind that Twitter and Google have a tight relationship, dating back to when Google made the decision to integrate Twitter results into organic search.
Number two; the intention of both Twitter Places and Google Places (Maps) is entirely different.
While Google Place promotes user-generated content, such as reviews to attribute to the objectivity of a business in search, it does so with the intentions of making businesses accessible to anyone online.
Twitter Places is not trying to emulate Google’s technology, nor is it trying to compete, it is simply infusing real-time innovation with geographic locations to make the experience more user-driven. The purpose is made pretty clear here.
What about internet security concerns, will this be an issue for Twitter Places? After all, by participating in this service users will be giving away their exact location, in real-time – we’re not yet sure how Twitter plan on tackling this, perhaps it’s a topic of discussion for the future!