Gowalla's co-founders on Monday confirmed that they will be making the move to Facebook, though the social network said it will not be acquiring Gowalla's technology.
Gowalla's location-based social service will be "winding down" by the end of January, co-founder Josh Williams said in a blog post. "We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well."
The ball got rolling on the Gowalla-Facebook deal several months ago after Williams said fellow co-founder Scott Raymond attended Facebook's f8 developer conference.
"We were blown away by Facebook's new developments," Williams wrote. "A few weeks later Facebook called, and it became clear that the way for our team to have the biggest impact was to work together. So we're excited to announce that we'll be making the journey to California to join Facebook."
Williams, Raymond, and other members of the Gowalla team will move to Facebook in January and join the company's design and engineering team, Facebook confirmed.
Apple just released iOS 4.3.3, an update aimed to fix the location tracking issue that raised a bunch of concerns over the last couple of weeks. With this update, the consolidated.db database that stores the location data will be reduced in size, and that database will no longer be backed up to iTunes. In addition, if you turn Location Services off, the cache gets deleted entirely. Plug your iPhone in and have iTunes check for the update when you get a chance--jailbreakers, you'll wanna wait until there's a compatible fix.
Buried in Apple's statement on how the iPhone tracks a user's location data, the company admitted it was collecting anonymous location information to create a "crowd-sourced traffic database" that will be part of a future "improved traffic service."
The thing is, there's already a traffic service on the iPhone, provided by Google. If a user launches the Maps app and selects "Show Traffic," the map overlays colors on roads that show traffic congestion. Google gets the traffic data by—surprise!—crowd-sourcing it, aggregating information from Google Maps users who have approved the app for location services on their mobile devices.
Apple's statement reveals that the company is working on its own version of such a service. Whether that service will be something that Apple will use to improve traffic in Google Maps, or if Apple will launch a competing maps app, or something else entirely isn't known. Apple didn't respond to multiple requests for comment on the topic.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Phones don't store location history in a manner similar to the iPhone, which records the location data in an unencrypted file. The news that some iOS devices keep location data came to light last week, although
Microsoft told us unequivocally that phones running Windows Phone 7 do not store location history. Like most other phones, the platform offers plenty of location-based apps, and those apps require user consent before they begin tracking. Windows Phones also offer the common feature of a "global switch" that lets the user disable all location services, and Microsoft says its "Find My Phone" service keeps only the phone's most recent location.
We also contacted Nokia, RIM, Google, and HP about how the companies' mobile platforms store location data, and none, save Microsoft, have responded. It's been confirmed independently that Google Android also tracks and stores location data.
In the crowded world of location apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places, Google Latitude aimed to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. Unlike the others which center around checking into places by tapping an icon, Latitude always tracked where you were in real-time, without any user interaction needed. Then it would share your whereabouts with your friends as you moved around. Thing is, people like checking in. So Google went ahead and added the ability to check in on Latitude, which will allow more flexibility for users of the app. A more interesting feature in Latitude is you can even choose to be automatically checked into locations, which sounds fairly ridiculous given how close many spots are to each other.
Google is once again trying to show that location services are really important to them with the release of Google Hotpot, a social recommendation engine for Places. According to Google, this service will provide recommendations "powered by you and your friends" to businesses and locations you happen to be near. Right now, Google Places mostly provides information and facts about restaurants, clubs, banks, or anything you can find on a map, as well as imported ratings from outside sources like Yelp. Hotpot adds the ability to like or dislike a location on the spot, and provide your opinion. Then, the engine will present that additional information from your social circle. The new feature is available on Android phones now and on the web, and uses your Google account to allow you to rate businesses.
Read More | Google Hotpot
The website of the location app Foursquare was updated today. While the mobile application has seen update after update, the website has remained more or less untouched until now. "We figured it was time to show some love to the website," said the Foursquare team on their blog.
The updated site now places emphasis on social networking. Friend's updates are now displayed in a live timeline that should "make it easier to keep up with your friends, even when your phone is not handy."
One more part of the update is that it is now easier to bring over contacts from other web services such as Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook. These may be simple updates that seem mandatory for other sites, but it shows that Foursquare is finally caring about their web interface in addition to that of their mobile application.
Read More | Foursquare Blog
Navteq and their parent company Nokia believe that LBS or Location Based Services are going to be a $7 billion dollar industry by 2013. This is due to an increase of mobile connected devices and their ability to receive targeted advertisements when they are near a specific location.
Navteq currently has 80 people globally in their sales force, working with mobile operators as well as smaller application developers to help sell the data that they collect about locations. They warehouse this information by deploying “data collection trucks” which have high definition cameras mounted on the rooftop and drive most all of the major cities roads . These cameras take photos and collect other data such as elevation as they drive through the streets. Company spokesman and presenter Shawn Gunn said future unknown applications will leverage this. To seed such innovation, Navteq has a location based challenge that they run annually and several augmented reality projects are frequently presented from that.
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