The Ultimate Location Based Service

You Are HereWith all the buzz about geolocation and geo-tagging services, I still can’t find a service that:

…allows me to see where my friends are right now, especially if they are near me
…allows me to forecast where I’ll be and when, if I want to
…allows me to see if my forecast lines up with my friends (maybe even suggest a common place to meet?)
…provides really easy tagging of photos, audio or other posts by location, including favoriting or voting on most relevant/interesting for that location (and reporting spam if necessary)
…recommends places of interest to me based on my history or my friend’s history in locations – I’d love a “Pandora” of locations and related content
…allows me to share location with ‘groups’ of friends (I’d love to me more open about my location at a conference/event for connecting with professionals, but at other times restrict my sharing to people I know or even only share with people in that location)
…really gives the user a tangible benefit for sharing info by location. (Yes, Foursquare has a lot of potential here in working with businesses).

Ultimately whether it’s Foursquare, Gowalla, Dopplr, Google’s Latitude, Loopt, Brightkite or some other player, there’s room for improvement/consolidation here.  Any one of these does a lot but not all of the functions.  Ultimately the one that wins is the one that everyone actually uses.  (cough cough Facebook cough cough).  And don’t forget the security risks associated with sharing, which Jim Storer discussed almost a year ago.  What do you think?  Do you use one or more of these services?  What do you like or hate about them?

Photo credit: cibomahto via Flickr

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Why Everyone Should Fly Virgin America

VirginAmericaOK, this is one of those “you won’t believe me until you try it” moments. (For some it’s a “I’m not surprised, welcome to the club” moment).  I had a client presentation opportunity come up in Los Angeles and dreaded booking the 6 hour flight from Boston. VirginAmerica to the rescue.  On top of a relatively cheap fare and no line at Logan airport in Boston, the following points demonstrate VirginAmerica’s smart response to business travelers:

  • Fast and reliable wifi ($12.95 for a day, but worth every penny to be connected).
  • AC power outlet in seats.
  • Movies and TV on demand in your seat.  I was able to pause a movie to finish a chat over IM.
  • Food and drink orderable via your seat kiosk.
  • Headphone jack that fits the normal headsets everyone carries.
  • The opening video on safety started with “for the .001% of you who have never operated a seatbelt before, it works like this…” – full of humor (it’s a cartoon) but still appropriate.  I can’t think of the last time I paid attention to these videos.
  • Courteous employees left and right.

Because of these things I was able to write this post from 35,000 feet, somewhere over Kansas I think.  I was also able to keep up with work email, catch up to Ken Burbary via Google Chat, follow the MarketingProfs B2B conference on Twitter, book a future flight and hotel room with my travel agent, check in on the Rosetta Yammer network and watch Gran Torino.  It’s a good news/bad news about being able to stay connected – either way I made very productive use of the time.

The bottom line: What a great experience.  No, I’m not on their payroll, but whoever is designing this airline probably worked at Zappos.  I fly just about every week on at least two flights, and this would make a substantial difference if I could have these amenities all of the time.  Flown them yet?  Have one better?  I’d love to hear about it.

Last quick story: During the flight I was on Twitter and read this article shared by a few people about using Twitter and Facebook to find a job, and noticed the primary person interviewed was Rosetta’s own Brian Ward.  While I was somewhere over Pennsylvania I was able to get a hold of him and let him know the article ran, so he found out through Twitter with an assist from VirginAmerica.  Sweet.

Did I mention VirginAmerica is on Twitter?  They are listening and responding too.

UPDATE: Here is the inflight video I mentioned (thanks to the comments below).  Tell me it’s not memorable – 275K+ views on YouTube?

Photo credit: joits via flickr

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