According to a post on the Twitter blog there is some new activity around location capabilities of the service. At this point, the location information offered within the Twitter tool itself and the data that is supplied through an API, is spotty at best. Anytime you leave the data generation duties to the end user you have to expect that there may be some ‘inconsistencies’ and just plain bad data. While this does not happen across the board the risk does exist for a real GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) scenario.
Never fear, though, Biz is here! If you have any angst or concerns about Twitter not moving forward or living up to its hype, co-founder Biz Stone will fill you in on the Twitter blog. When Biz speaks, tweeters listen. Here’s some of what he had to say about new efforts underway to make the location options of Twitter better.
We’re gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware. A new API will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice because it will be off by default and the exact location data won’t be stored for an extended period of time. However, if people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweet-by-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information.
Stone goes on to give examples of being able to see tweets of those you don’t follow at events (i.e. concerts and other live events). He then goes to the other extreme of an earthquake but I suppose that’s the Bay area centric side of how Biz views the world.
The early versions of this service will not be seen on the Twitter site. Developers are being given the access to the data first so they can continue to build the tools that is helping Twitter spread via mobile apps etc.
I guess it depends on how you feel about being tracked by having your location pinpointed with the Internet’s version of cross-hairs: the crossing of lines of latitude and longitude. Smart move, by the way, to emphasize the opt in nature of this new option. The last thing any business needs these days is the appearance that they are tracking your every move. We’ll leave that to the government and Google.