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The RAAKonteur #27 – Nokia Push, Google check-in & Facebook Deals

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7 February 2011

Whoop whoop – it's the sound of the police

The UK police has launched a map where citizens can type in their post code to see crime data in their area. Hoorah! Not so fast says Conrad Quilty-Harper.

It’s useless to residents wanting to find out what was going on at the house around the corner at 3am last night, and it’s useless to individuals who want to build mobile phone applications on top of the data (perhaps to get a chunk of that £6 billion industry open data is supposed to create).

He goes on to list six reasons why the site is useless. Go read it.

Nokia pushes the mountains

Back in the days brands sponsored cool events to raise their profile. Now they make cool shit themselves. 

Together with snowboard company Burton, Nokia have started Push Snowboarding, an open innovation platform that combines technology with gaming and great footage of dudes bombing down a mountain. It has developed a technology to capture data from snowboarders movements and they're making that available to developers. Curious to see where this goes.


Google keen to increase check-ins

Despite Foursquare's immense user growth, the amount of check-ins it generates is relatively low. Same with Twitter Location or Facebook Places. Google seems to understand this and is adding a few features to its Latitude service that could potentially increase the amount of check-ins.

First one is that the app (Android only – for now?) will recognise when you haven't moved for a while and suggest a location close-by to check-in to.

Second is that you can set up your app to automatically check into your favourite venues when it notices when you're at that place.

Facebook Deals launches

Facebook is doing their own bit for location-based services by finally launching Facebook Deals in Europe. Based on Facebook Places, it checks for venues around you with special offers and turns your mobile phone into a digital loyalty card.

For now Facebook has launched with a limited amount of deals with the big boys (Starbucks, Debenhams, O2, Yo Sushi,…). But in the future any business can create their own deals (for free) using a very simple interface. If I were Foursquare, I'd be getting nervous.


Facebook more mobile

Already 200m users – more than a third – are using Facebook on their mobile devices and according to Facebook's own numbers they are twice as active than non-mobile users.

In other news, Facebook has made a bold call for developers to use HTML5 instead of Flash. With both Apple and Facebook swinging to the anti-side, one has to fear for the future of Flash. RAAK won't shed any crocodile tears mind.

The winds of change

It's been an incredible week. We might just be witnessing an historic moment, similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall, as a series of revolutions spreading through the Magreb. Taking the long view the Globe and Mail muses:

 … the emergence of social media – Web 2.0 – has presented a major challenge to the state’s ability to control the message and contain popular dissent.

When the internet was completely cut in Egypt – an unprecedented step – Google launched SpeaktoTweet to help circumvent the problem, setting a new benchmark for corporate social responsibility.

Similar tools that have seen an increase in usage are Tor, the anonimity project which you can use if you don't want people to find out from where you're blogging. And then there's Streisand Me, a project that helps set up your computer as a mirror server for content not welcome in places like Belarus.


The unearned follow

Robert Scoble has kicked off an interesting debate.

I’ve been getting too many follows on too many services without earning them. On PicPlz I have 2,034 followers. On Quora I have 17,713 followers. On Instagram I have 9,249 followers. Did I earn these by having the best participation? The best photos? The best answers? No.

On PicPlz the people that follow you on Twitter are automatically made to follow your pictures, even if they are crap. Why do companies do this, Scoble asks?

Because it gets popular users onto the system, which drags their social networks onto a new social network. What does that cause? Virality.

Of course. It means that those with a large Twitter following can leverage their audience from one platform onto another.

Creative of the week – Alexander Chen

When code meets creativity, nice things do happen. Alexander Chen's Conductor is a piece that turns the NYC subway lines into a musical instrument. Read More >>


And not to be ignored

  • It looks like Google caught Bing cheating.
  • The smart people at PSFK have done another one of their great reports, this time on the Future of Real-Time.
  • Interesting article in the New York Times on how apps are reacting to the way we read on the web.
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