Friday, October 21, 2005

socialight: drop shadows everywhere

I'm quite excited about socialight. I have recently posted a few comments on geo-tagging, and it seems like soon I'll actually be able to do it.

socialight lets you leave "shadows" at specific locations by tagging a location with a message or a photograph using your cellphone. Shadows can be made public, private, or accessible by a select group of people. Their website gives the following examples as to how the service can be used:
+ A woman shows all her close friends the tree under which she had her first kiss.
+ An entire neighborhood gets together and documents all the unwanted litter they find in an effort to share ownership of a community problem.
+ I leave a note for my friends at the pub to let them know I'm running late.
+ A food-lover uses Socialight to share her thoughts on the amazing vanilla milkshakes at a new restaurant.
+ The neighborhood historian creates her own walking tour for others to follow.
+ A group of friends create their own scavenger hunt.
+ A tourist takes place-based notes about stores in the shopping district of a foreign city, only for himself and his Contacts, for a future time when he or his friends are in that city.
+ A small business places StickyShadows that its customers would be interested in finding.
+ A band promotes an upcoming show by leaving a StickyShadow outside the venue.
Reading the FAQ at socialight's website, I was struck by a few things:

1. The service is available on only one model of phone and on only one company's network. I realize it's sometimes good to release a product early, but only one phone?! What's the current market size?

2. Only addresses and intersections are used for tagging. Can I set a fuzzy area? How focused is the shadow? What about GPS? I guess most phones don't have this technology yet, but it would be so much simpler to not have to enter any addresses at all; simply type your message and socialight tags your current location.

3. There was no mention of positional alarms in their examples, but these are equivalent to personal shadows. The next time I'm at my favourite coffee shop, I want to remember to try the new lychee latte, so I set a shadow for myself.

If socialight can roll out quickly, I think this is going to be a killer application. I hope that the word is spread, that all of the Motorola i860 users on Nextel's network start using it, and that all other cellphone owners start clamouring for access.

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