Nokia to take location-based social networking mainstream

Nokia to take location-based social networking mainstream

Summary: Location-based social networking could soon go mainstream with today's news that Nokia, the world's leading mobile cellphone manufacturer, has acquired Berlin-based Plazes.

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Nokia to take location-based social networking mainstreamLocation-based social networking could soon go mainstream with today's news that Nokia, the world's leading mobile cellphone manufacturer, has acquired Berlin-based Plazes.

Founded in 2005, Plazes lets "friends" update each other about what they are doing when and where, resulting in a Twitter-like activity stream but with integrated geo-tagging. Users can then subscribe to any of their friends' activity streams or to groups of friends, as well as to specific locations known as "Plazes". Updates can be done either on Plazes.com or by mobile phone (via text messaging) or using a number of third-party applications that utilize the Plazes' publicly available API.

Now that Nokia has acquired the service, "if all goes well" we can expect Plazes to be "made available to millions of Nokia customers both online and on millions of mobile devices", according to the official Plazes blog

A few key takeaways from the announcement...

  • It's more evidence that Nokia is moving away from being purely a hardware manufacturer into a fully-fledged Web service company, with it's consumer-facing Ovi brand.
  • Nokia is placing a massive bet on Location-based Services. The company now includes GPS functionality in almost all of its most recent handsets, and has been bundling its own mapping software (based on a previous acquisition of Gate5, another Berlin-based startup). Additionally, Nokia is in the process of acquiring NAVTEQ, the world's largest data mapping company.
  • Plazes is still on track to release a native iPhone client, suggesting that Nokia understands the importance of network effects over platform exclusivity. No location-based social network will be able to go mainstream if it is limited to friends who use a particular handset or platform.

Moving forward, it's clear that mobile, combined with location, represent the next social networking frontier. As evidence, Google's Android developer contest is littered with location-based social applications, and the official iPhone SDK has already given birth to a number of location-aware social networking apps. What's not clear yet, however, is whether the eventual winners will be established social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter that add location-based functionality or newer or specialized entrants who build in location and mobile from the get-go.

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, Networking, Nokia, Social Enterprise

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6 comments
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  • I agree with your thoughts on this !

    Yes social gps as I like to call it is the way of the future and yes Nokia is not the only player in town they should keep there eyes open for this up and coming social app [i]http://www.iphonefindme.com [/i] I really think this one may take the world by storm as one of the best social networking applications on the market today.
    overdog402
    • Thanks!

      Keep the location-based social network links coming :-)
      Steve O'Hear
  • RE: Nokia to take location-based social networking mainstream

    I agree with your thoughts too. However, it is quite
    interesting to see that mobile LBS start the acceleration
    right after the iphone debut, even though it was widely
    discussed long time ago. sometimes I was really
    wondering what happened in this industry....

    anyway, let me share another mobile LBS tutorial. I think it
    is a very good one.

    http://to.swang.googlepages.com/lbs
    Elibom
  • Check out Verizon's (NIM) product that beats the iPhone app...

    www.vznavigator.com

    This app gives you gas finder, traffic warnings/updates, local searches, follow me maps, turn by turn, long/lat, altitude,etc.


    The app also allows you to send a place message via text message to an end user. The recipient can then tell precisely where you are, and will navigate with turn by turn directions.
    britany.houk@...
  • Check out Verizon's (NIM) product that beats the iPhone app...

    www.vznavigator.com

    This app offers follow me maps, turn by turn, gas finder, movie times, events, traffic warnings/updates, lat and long, altitude, etc.


    The app can also send a place message via text message to another end user. The recipient can then navigate with turn by turn directions to find the end user.

    The web portal looks very similar to Google maps and will send location info to the handset.

    The subscription cost isn't bad either.
    britany.houk@...
  • A Mobile Location Service Example

    One example here.


    The US VZW also provides lots of mobile location-based
    services. One of them is called navigation services. it is
    about $5+ per month. However, as you know, the GPS
    service itself is free to public and a GPS receiver is as low
    as $200 with a pretty decent screen and airtime charge.
    (More decent than a mobile phone.) It is really difficult for
    me to choose the VZW navigation service instead of buying
    a GPS receiver. On the other hand, the VZW GPS is a A-
    GPS/AFLT based hybrid solution under the tight control of
    the operator. If you travel out of the VZW network
    coverage, you will be out of luck. However, with a
    standalone GPS receiver, you have no problem.

    http://mobilelocationservices.blogspot.com/
    Elibom