‘What’s Happening?’: Twitter’s Geo-API ‘Huge’

Twitter’s COO Dick Costolo said this morning at the TechCrunch CrunchUp event that he felt the “geo opportunity” was “huge.”

The location-stamping or geocoding of content and the release of that data to third parties (online and in mobile) will unleash a wide range of creative applications and expressions for local tweets. Indeed, Costolo emphasized that mobile would be a prominent use case for this location-oriented data. That’s clear, as people look to Twitter-enabled local-mobile apps to find out who’s around and what’s going on.

Accordingly Twitter changed its tagline from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?” This intrinsically lends itself to location-oriented tweeting. 

With appropriate controls and filters Twitter becomes more viable as a “local search engine.” Right now there’s too much noise. To date some of the apps that have tried to ground Twitter data locally have simply located Twitter users on maps or augmented reality apps. Now the tweets and content itself will be capable of being located and can help “annotate” places (see Flook). 

Twitter and its ecosystem could also potentially could develop further in the Q&A arena. Some people ask questions on Twitter but the results and responses are inconsistent. Location-filtered Twitter communities could start to use the service to find out all kinds of information about things, places and events. There are also a ton of marketing implications, from analytics to enabling businesses to target broader groups of people in their service areas. 

I see lots of creative potential here and am eager to see how these applications play out in the next several months. 

With this move Twitter — or the Twitter data more properly — will likely become a significant player in local. All the traditional local players and competitors should be thinking about how to tap into this data to enhance their own existing services or to build new ones on top of this information.

5 Responses to “‘What’s Happening?’: Twitter’s Geo-API ‘Huge’”

  1. dallasgoogleguru Says:

    A future blow to IYPs? I think not. Although I see the need for “real time local search” unless Twitter figures out a means of incorporating reviews and ratings to a business content stream I don’t see how it can use this Geo information. Although I am very interested in the FANS tag that Facebook has employed. This might just be the next step for Twitter beyond “Lists”

    Greg, do you think it is best for Twitter to keep adding more features to users? Is it making twitter too complicated or are they reaching out to find a means of monetizing the site at a jeopardy to users?

    Keep up the good work!

    Mike Stewart
    (formerly @ Idearc)

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Agree that Twitter shouldn’t add feature after feature.

    My comment above was that IYPs should incorporate the Twitter info/data in some way.

    Thanks Mike

  3. dallasgoogleguru Says:

    OIC! Incorporating the content on client sites should be the first suggestion to them. But I already did that! They don’t listen! Trust me. They are about as slow as molasses! One wonders why they actually do not do a better job of retrieving content from clients to publish? I have a hunch it is due to the nature of the “sales” business model.

    I am sure they will do something. I would expect to see it first from Yelp. I am going to make a suggestion to someone at Yelp to do so. Let’s see who becomes to first IYP to adapt!

    Thanks for keeping everyone on their toes Greg!

    Mike Stewart

  4. Rog Says:

    Greg, thanks for the shout. We’re really excited about this stuff. As soon as the location API came available in Twitter we added flook support. As you know, we also gather located tweets into a “twitter card” in flook. It’s always very interesting to see the synchronicity on the back of this card. Twitter location tagging makes the card much more accurate. From our side, giving twitter users interested in location a way into flook is just plain good news.

    Looking forward, we’re adding more and more location based content sources to flook (just recently; flickr interesting) with our growing UGC base the results are really pleasing.


  5. steve alter Says:

    We currently employ Microsoft Bing so our friends and clients can quickly find their location. Now I’m looking for better ways to help them more fully understand their location, the close in demographics, maybe the school district and what about that? and how can I talk to a few experts on that location just very, very quickly. Does anyione have a great recommendation regarding a software program or something that we should get for ourselves and something that may already be working smoothly with BING

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