The Importance of Place: What kind of marketing strategies are likely to develop based on location tracking info?
In the final week of October, 2010, Google overhauled the way that they “organize the world’s organization,” giving place a new centrality as a factor determining how their search engine ranks websites and presents Search Results for consumers. Having merged place results with organic search results, red ‘place balloons’ started appearing below listings, rather than being cordoned off in their own section, which meant that organic Search Results and Place information associated with sites were being measured as two parts of a unified whole. This allowed local businesses to become relevant on searches entered by local users in a new way. Last month, there were a string of revelations about location-tracking on smart-phones, the most dramatic of which involved Google’s phone—the Droid. The Wall Street Journal summarized the kernel at the center of the snafu succinctly, reporting that, “Android phones collect the name, location and signal of any nearby Wi-Fi networks as well as a unique phone identifier” For the purposes of this post we won’t allow the question of whether these evolving prongs of Google’s strategies are connected . Instead, let’s talk in term of logistics: what does this new centrality of place mean for the average person? We’ll assume that, at this point, the ‘average person’ owns a smartphone and searches Google for their quotidian informational needs on a regular basis. What exactly does it mean when we read that… Android phones collect their location every few seconds, transmitting the data to Google several times an […]