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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Update: Got in touch with uLocate on some of my questions; here’s the rest of the story:

(1) The apps listed on the about page are “home grown.”

(2) “With today’s announcement, we launched widgets from Eventful, Pubwalk, and yes, Zillow.  These are all 3rd party widgets developed using their APIs.” So, one blogger was confused when stating “Apparently the WHERE platform incorporate Zillow’s API.”

(3) There is rev sharing with LBS providers who port to WHERE. “We will rev share to folks that develop to the WHERE platform and deliver subscribers.”  Strange that wasn’t in the PR or on the developer site.

(4) When developers chose to support WHERE they can choose to use their existing mapping backend (Google Maps, say) or instead will be calling (via WHERE) uLocate’s own mapping and routing backend (MapQuest). If they do the latter, the apps will behave and look different beyond being on a small screen. Zillow, for example, won’t have its pretty images from GlobeXplorer. 

(5) The Raj Singh noted for PubWalk in the press release is not the one from OGC. He’s another one.
—- original article—

The Boston Globe pointed me to the new offering from uLocate, a company outside Boston known for its tracking tools for GPS-enabled cell phones. WHERE is a platform for making LBS easily addable to a mobile devide as I understand it (the Globe called it a GPS widget, so I had no idea if it was hardware or software…)

Per MobileCrunch, if you’ve got an app suitable for mobiles (like say you do a bit of Ruby/PHP programming using the development tools to make it WHERE accessible. The developer program is free. End users simply choose from a list of offerings after downloading the WHERE app to their phone. No, I couldn’t find a list of app offered, but there is this generic one on the WHERE about page.

Business model you ask? WHERE is $2.99/month for end users and runs on some Sprint phones. uLocate gets those with apps to build them into WHERE widgets, that means essentially free content for the platform.

The technology for WHERE also underlies Helio’s Beacon Buddy and MapQuest’s Find Me.

- press release

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 11:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Om has an interesting take on why TellMe may be worth 800 million - voice input additions to Local Mobile Search. Surely that’s not the only use for this technology as Om points out, but…

The real reason will be Microsoft Mobile and non-PC devices where Tellme’s voice interface and back-end server technologies can come in quite handy.

“The leading edge battleground between us and Google in local search really will come on the phone,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told the WSJ back in May 2006.

That is the money quote.

I use TellMe regularly and the deCarta maps and routes are useful, but I rarely use them and instead often choose the call option to get connected to nearby retailers. 

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 11:06 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I know, I know, AOL owns MapQuest, but that didn’t stop the company from using that technology to power a new seach tool (beta page). It’s sure been a while that “everyone else” had local search, so I guess the company finally got the message.


by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 09:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

That was the topic of a paper at the ESRI User Conference last year (which is timely now). The paper is examined in this Arizona Daily Star aticle. Short answer: no correlation found.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 08:48 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Seeking Alpha (a stock site) has a discussion of how Yahoo’s doing. I know many regular people who have found and stuck with Yahoo Maps. (My cycling friends lean that way, for example.) Still, I know in our world despite some great stuff and what’s been described as a strong API, Yahoo Maps barely comes up when we speak of mashups. Add to that the Yahoo Maps folks are simply not as visible in our world as some folks from others in the GAMY crowd. (That’s Google, Ask, Microsoft, Yahoo) We are looking forward to a strong showing by Yahoo at our conference next month.

But,  back to the article. It notes the growth of Yahoo’s search properties (there are scads, which tend to forget!) in sessions year over year and month over month. So, how’s Maps doing? -4% year to year, -3% month to month. Mixed with all the other properties that puts Yahoo at +10% year to year and -1% month to month. Not too shabby!

The analysis then breaks out the top, middle and under performers in making up that overall number. Maps falls into the bottom category. The graphic comparing it to others in the category from Feb 06 to Feb 07 is striking. Maps starts in the pack but drops percipitously in November and stays flat. Others in that group: travel, shopping, audio and sports.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 07:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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