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.