Location Based Services Becoming Real: Nokia Acquires Plazes

The notion behind social location based services is fantastic. For example, depending where you are, an application that knows your location and the locations of your friends alerts you all to each other’s presence Plazesand good times ensue. This is the idea behind Plazes, a German start-up that allows users to plan, record, and share their social activities.

There are two areas of concern I have with services like Plazes (along with Loopt and Whrrl). I love the concept behind these services, however, who’s addressing the privacy concerns? For example, I use Brightkite and have added a few friends, but I have declined the opportunity to advertise my Brightkite status on Twitter. I don’t want everyone in my twitter stream to know my exact location for privacy reasons.

Also, before the Nokia acquisition, what revenue model did Plazes have? My only guess is that after enough people signed up for Plazes, contextual ads could be served that are location-aware.

Nokia is the clear winner here, as they are adding 13 smart developers to their Services and Software unit. Perhaps the new team can help add some social aspects to the useful Nokia Maps Application. Nokia has been delivering some great mobile applications that utilize location and GPS data as of late, so I’m very anxious to see how the Plazes team is positioned within the company and future offerings.

Maps is great for finding your way with basic GPS functions but could definintely use some social features. Especially with a GPS-enabled iPhone coming out soon and all the applications that will utilize its new hardware stack. Because, like I said on GigaOm a while back, feature-packed phones are useless unless they are tied into our daily lives with useful software and services.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1793485209232007360 Elibom

    I have read the similar news many times these days. Is there any relationship between the new iphone debut and this? Strang enough, suddenly mobile LBS starts flying.

  • Edgar

    LBS has been around for years, but it takes a launch like the iPhone app store to really get the ball rolling. Now everyone will want to get there hands on LBS and they can, now that it’s available to the masses. I still think the leader in LBS is WHERE by uLocate. I bet they’ll have an iPhone app too.

  • http://mobilelocationservices.blogspot.com/ Elibom

    One example here.

    The US VZW also provides lots of mobile location-based services. One of them is called navigation services. it is about $5+ per month. However, as you know, the GPS service itself is free to public and a GPS receiver is as low as $200 with a pretty decent screen and airtime charge. (More decent than a mobile phone.) It is really difficult for me to choose the VZW navigation service instead of buying a GPS receiver. On the other hand, the VZW GPS is a A-GPS/AFLT based hybrid solution under the tight control of the operator. If you travel out of the VZW network coverage, you will be out of luck. However, with a standalone GPS receiver, you have no problem.

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