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The RAAKonteur #33 – Twitter's big blunder, Crowdsourced Navigation & more

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21 March 2011

Twitter wakes the Dragon

To start off this week Twitter celebrated its fifth birthday with the obligatory first tweet meme. To make it extra special, it also registered its 1billionth tweet. Woohoo!

And then, on a roll, it aroused the scorn of its API consumers by announcing that people should stop building Twitter Clients. According to the API Terms Of ServiceAn example of a Client is a downloadable application that displays user timelines and allows users to create and search for tweets. In other words, a Twitter app that creates competition for Twitter.com.

This evoked a plethora of responses from the developer community, ranging from emotional, rational and violent, to this one from Adam Green on the twitter-development-talk google group, which probably does the best job of summing up the debacle.

“Here is a simple way this could have been prevented. If you had a developer relations person with experience and skills in dealing with third party developers, who have completely different motivations from in-house coders, he or she could have quietly passed around a draft of what you wanted to say. This would have gotten very strong negative reactions. You would have been able to reformulate it to strip out the implied threats and turn it into a positive roadmap. It could have been framed as “Here are some areas we promise to leave open for developers. If you work here, we will give you all kinds of extra support and promotion”

Microsoft launches IE9

IE9 sees the light of day, officially (and finally). And as we amusingly pointed out last week, they are flogging it by apologizing for IE6.

Welcome to the real world, Microsoft! It’s built out of HTML5 and CSS3. Sorry, say what? Oh no, seems they’re not quite here yet … sorry about that.

VW app

Volkswagen is a brand that understands the power of added value in advertising. Last year VW Sweden had lots of success with the rather abstract Fun Theory. This week it’s their Norwegian brethren that are going beyond the billboard. Combing a print ad with an Augmented Reality app, it allows people to get an interactive experience with the product and do a virtual test drive.

As they say in the film:

“Innovations can be difficult to explain in an ad. they must be experienced. Therefore, we created an app for readers to download so they could try it out for themselves, using the print ad to test drive.”

Sony Ericsson teams up with Foursquare

To complement their sponsorship of the Miami Open tennis tournament, Sony Ericsson is experimenting with a Foursquare gaming mechanic. When people check into the tournament they get the chance to win autograph sessions and the chance to toss the coin before a game.

Pretty straightforward stuff, but combine these incentives with the new features of the Foursquare app, and the location service might become quite useful.

Woos.at: PeerSquare – just better, faster, and mobile

On the subject of making Foursquare more useful, we’ve done an update of PeerSquare. Actually, we’ve completely scrapped it, and we bring you: Woos.at (mobile only).

Less than a month ago we launched PeerSquare, our attempt at turning Foursquare and PeerIndex into a wonderful Serendipity platform. Since then, we’ve moved it to the next level: mobile. It is now called Woos.at, and by default it shows you interests of people who are checked into the same venue as you on Foursquare. We believe Serendipity to be a very hot topic in future, so do watch this space.

Facebook Cinema

Facebook has made another step in becoming the Facebook-wide web, by wooing the big film studios. Warner Bros is going where the people are and has announced it is making some of its films available for streaming on Facebook. US only for now.

We’re not convinced, however, that providing a store inside Facebook is the best way to sell movies. It’s not even the best way to sell movies using Facebook. If they used Facebook Connect outside of FB they could provide a much better user experience. How is being on FB itself in anyway closer to having your own site? Both are one click away, but one has bad user experience.

Interesting detail: you have to pay with Facebook Credits.


Google Maps Navigation offers turn by turn navigation with live traffic conditions, but it is still only available on Android devices and in perpetual beta, which is the Google way.

Waze aims to do the same, socially. By analyzing users’ locations while using it in real time, Waze knows what their traffic conditions are, and make it available to all users. Kind of like crowdsourced traffic data. Brilliant!

Creative of the week – the guy behind Moviebarcode

It seems this creative isn’t interested in revealing their identity, but his/her project made us smile all week.

We’re not 100% sure how it works, but using some sort of compression technique, Creative X turns classic movies into barcodes. Not of the functional kind though, but of the creative. Apparently each frame of the movie is compressed into a very thin line, which combined, creates these abstract colour patters, which are truly mesmerizing.

Tech insight of the Week – Foursquare Venues on Steroids

A few weeks ago we were about to do a piece on how useless Foursquare’s venue data is, from the perspective of an API consumer. That’s all changed now.

Our tech insight this week looks at the latest changes in the Foursquare API, promising to change the way developers will look at venues forever. This is not press release marketing drivel, it is our own researched opinion. Read More »

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  • Posted by MJ
    May 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I was writing for a broad topic on engineering serendipity through location-based apps for a postgrad class. At this point I’m just trying to understand the similarities across the first wave of geo-location apps, and what they deem valuable enough to capture. I’m keen to know what happened with Woos.at, and if it’s reincarnated as something else?


  • August 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    No MJ, we dropped WOOS.at after we watched what happened with Highlight, Sonar etc.

    We think we were too soon in this space, and it needs a lot more thinking, and better predictive use of data – recent revelations will make people even more cautious of that though.

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