Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Social Networks The Internet Communications

Twitter Developing Location-Based API 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-up-to-the-minute-online-stalking dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Twitter developers are now working on a location-based API that will provide accurate information on your whereabouts. Developers will be able to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. The option will definitely be opt-in. Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice, and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Twitter Developing Location-Based API

Comments Filter:
  • Pseudocode (Score:5, Funny)

    by daveime (1253762) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:45PM (#29156451)

    function TwitterAPIGetLocation(name) {
            return name + ' is in front of a PC';
    }

    • LOL! Except that doesn't work for all those that use the iPhone, send texts etc...

      There are already Twitter apps that do this and add the latitude and longitude to tweets.

    • Twitter has always made me feel like a stalker. I don't personally have a twitter account, but some of my friends do and I follow a few other things (though I rarely go to the website itself, when people I'm 'following' update I'll get an email), I don't need to know where they are when they post something. That makes me feel even creepier!
    • by orkybash (1013349)
      Wrong. The whole point of Twitter is that you can text in your tweets wherever. Most people I know aren't in front of their computer when they update.
  • Doesn't twitter already support this? My girlfriend and I went to the grand canyon around a year ago...I remember her taking her iPhone out and showing me how there were also a bunch of other people there twittering. It came up with a map containing their userpic, and their tweet...

    Was I hallucinating this? Is my girlfriend secretly a twitter developer!?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vectronic (1221470)

      GPS Twitter [where.com]
      Twittervision [twittervision.com]
      Twittermap [twittermap.com]

      Could have been one of those... and I'm sure there are others.

      • I've never used any of them and have used at least one app that does this, so that's at least four.

        It's typical Twitter really. "Hey, that feature is great. Let's nick it."

      • All those apps should make a stalker's job much easier. I mean, think about it. You stumble over some hottie's pic on the net, so you start checking her out. You've got her twitter nickname, her myspace nickname, and you've got her phone number, her high school, names and phone numbers of all her family and freinds. But, how do you figure out exactly where she IS?

        Technology is great, isn't it?

        Excuse, me, gotta get back to my stalking.....

    • Twitter apps can set your location (many do it at the same time as you tweet), but this is a single location associated with your profile, so it will be changed as you move around. The new API assigns a geolocation to the specific tweet so you will have historical data for users location which, no doubt, someone will think of a good use for. It's pretty much building on top of the location that currently exists, but you will be able to set a "home" location that specifies the area you are in, making it easy

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by horatio (127595)
      I'm looking at my iPhone running TwitterPhone right now. It supports adding my location to my tweets, and letting me search for anyone posting within a certain radius of my location. Is this just an old story, or is there something new here I'm missing?

      You're not hallucinating about twitter. Maybe about the girlfriend, this is /. after all.
  • I really cannot understand what everybody's interest in Twitter is. I've used it and read some posts and still cannot understand why it is so popular. Maybe I just "don't get it"?
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:00PM (#29156543)
      People say the same thing about MySpace, yet there is is, plodding along as strong (PINK PONIES!) as ever... Twitter and MySpace are a way for people with relatively benign and routine existences to validate themselves - I EXIST! I AM IMPORTANT... TO SOMEONE...

      I have accepted that I am an uniportant tiny cog in some huge machine and no one cares to know the exact moment I take a shit (and where).
      • That wooshing sound you heard was the point flying past you.

        I used Twitter when the iPhone app store first launched and there were a lot of Twitter apps. Figured I'd give it a go, expecting to quit after a few tweets, but I wound up getting hooked. I think in large part due to the fact that in 140 characters you have be concise. As someone who writes a lot I enjoy the challenge (for want of a better word) of that character restriction. Plus I've found other uses for it.

        For example when I've had technical is

      • Twitter and MySpace are a way for people with relatively benign and routine existences to validate themselves - I EXIST! I AM IMPORTANT... TO SOMEONE...

        LOL. No doubt true (for a wide variety of reasons), but wouldn't buying a dog work just as well?

        I have accepted that I am an uniportant tiny cog in some huge machine and no one cares to know the exact moment I take a shit (and where).

        Oddly enough, something a dog would definitely be interested in. ;-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Sebilrazen (870600)

          Oddly enough, something a dog would definitely be interested in. ;-)

          Tell me about, one day I was using Twitter on the crapper and the dog wouldn't leave me be, so I just had to tweet about it.

    • by causality (777677) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:10PM (#29156597)

      I really cannot understand what everybody's interest in Twitter is. I've used it and read some posts and still cannot understand why it is so popular. Maybe I just "don't get it"?

      This is what I don't like about the whole phenomena. You take something that has been mainstream technology for about ten years or more, like instant messaging, put an implementation of it on a Web site with some Javascript, market the hell out of it, and now you have a trendy new site. The same process applies to Facebook and Myspace and others.

      In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it. The mainstream instant messaging clients failed for various reasons to come up with a single open standard. In fact, they often actively tried to hinder multiple-protocol IM clients. That difference is the only rational reason for the hype attributed to Twitter. The rest is just marketing and trend-following because otherwise there is nothing new and interesting going on.

      I think you do "get it" and that's precisely why you don't share the interest in this trend. Of course there's nothing wrong with using a site and enjoying it but jumping on its bandwagon and indulging its hype is another thing entirely. I don't think this is about anything interesting from Twitter, but rather, is about a generation of users who probably don't understand the full implications and potential consequences of disclosing personally identifying information or of turning your day-to-day life into a public spectacle.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What I don't get is how otherwise seemingly intelligent people are, time and again, surprised by the fact that marketing works.
        • by causality (777677) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:29PM (#29156717)

          What I don't get is how otherwise seemingly intelligent people are, time and again, surprised by the fact that marketing works.

          That's because it works for all of the wrong reasons. It works because people are easy to manipulate and shouldn't be, not because the thing being marketed is inherently a good idea. It's not fun for a reasonably intelligent person to be reminded that so many people who should be capable of making their own decisions will refuse to think for themselves. The worst part is that there's very little you can hope to do about that because the people who refuse to think don't usually see this as a problem.

          A second way to answer that, is that "seemingly intelligent" people are usually good with things like logic and reasoning. The manipulation of marketing happens largely on an emotional/irrational level. In fact it often goes against basic logic, like the logic which says that a paid advertisement promoting Company A's products is not a good, unbiased source of information about Company A or its products and business practices.

          • Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by icebike (68054)

              Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."

              Yes. You have hit the nail squarely on the head.

              Contrary to your intent to be a tad snarky, you have exposed the actual truth.

              http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32408652/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ [msn.com]

            • by causality (777677)

              Let me rephrase your post, if I may presume: "I can't see a use for it, therefore it is not useful. Because so many other people find it useful in spite of this, it is a failing in them."

              As I unambiguously indicated, it's not a question of whether it's useful. I never made the argument that marketing is ineffective. That's because it's obviously effective. What I said was that it's effective because it's manipulative and that's the problem that intellectual people who have thought about it have noticed. You are pretending like I was talking about whether the ends are desired (are found to be useful) by some. No, I was talking about whether the ends justify the means and I am of the opi

              • Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

                I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

                • by causality (777677)

                  Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

                  I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

                  For most of this (sub)thread I was responding to the AC who said "supposedly intelligent people are repeatedly surprised that marketing works." That was a broad statement applicable to marketing and advertising in general and was not at all exclusive to Twitter. Otherwise I definitely agree with you. Personally, that people suddenly flock to a new brand seemingly overnight and the reasons why they act this way in large groups in short periods of time is much more interesting than the brand itself and wha

                  • by causality (777677)

                    Re-reading your post, I'm still finding a fundamental assumption that it's successful based on the emotional appeal of its marketing, and not out of any inherent usefulness of the service itself. Am I wrong in seeing this assumption?

                    I never claimed that it was a neverending stream of wisdom that passed through twitter. Rather, that just because a lot of crap /does/ pass through, that's no reason to discount it as a service with inherent value. Babies and bathwater and all that.

                    For most of this (sub)thread I was responding to the AC who said "supposedly intelligent people are repeatedly surprised that marketing works." That was a broad statement applicable to marketing and advertising in general and was not at all exclusive to Twitter. Otherwise I definitely agree with you. Personally, that people suddenly flock to a new brand seemingly overnight and the reasons why they act this way in large groups in short periods of time is much more interesting than the brand itself and what it has to offer. It's the group-think or the herd mentality I am looking at, as opposed to whether the stream from which the herd is drinking is clean.

                    Not fond of replying to myself, but I should add that I am not without my opinions on the general utility of Twitter and I have certainly stated them throughout this thread. They are, however, opinions.

            • You say that like it's a bad thing. Apparently, those of us who recognize society's failings, and society's failures, are bad guys. Fine, I can live with that. If I can't, I guess I could get a twitter account, and find people who agree with me.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by easyTree (1042254)

                Apparently, those of us who recognize society's failings, and society's failures, are bad guys

                Don't forget negative. If I'm screwing you over with a polite smile on my face and you have the rudeness to point this out - you're NEGATIVE!

              • Have you pointed out the failing or failure? I'm still waiting... because stating that you think something is useless doesn't qualify. We're all about facts here.
          • by easyTree (1042254)

            It's not fun for a reasonably intelligent person to be reminded that so many people who should be capable of making their own decisions will refuse to think for themselves.

            Even worse, those of us who are capable of thinking for ourselves are swept along in the wake of the army of n00bs as the world's companies cater for the majority 'viewpoint' :-(

      • Thanks. I agree it is another case of hyped up over marketing. It's like Pokemon for example. It's popularity was enormous and kids that were into it really didn't know why. But they HAD TO HAVE them damn trading cards!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it.

        Maybe the cause of your surprise is that you're trivializing things that are actually quite important.

        By making Twitter accessible via a web site, the effort required to follow a feed went from (minor, and slightly technical) to (nada). With something like Twitter, which is of only marginal value to most people, I'm guessing that using it needs to have just about zero degree of inconvenience

        • by causality (777677)

          In the case of Twitter, the only improvement that's happened here is that anyone with a decent browser can access it.

          Maybe the cause of your surprise is that you're trivializing things that are actually quite important.

          By making Twitter accessible via a web site, the effort required to follow a feed went from (minor, and slightly technical) to (nada). With something like Twitter, which is of only marginal value to most people, I'm guessing that using it needs to have just about zero degree of inconvenience, or else people just won't bother.

          If people have such a low desire for something that they will only go for it when all (or nearly all) inconvenience is removed, that potentially tells me two things: 1) the people are lazy or unmotivated so when they say they want something, they do NOT mean they are willing to endure a small amount of effort or inconvenience to obtain it, and 2) Twitter's services were never very valuable to anyone or else near-zero inconvenience would not have been necessary for its explosive growth.

          Either 1) is true

      • I don't think this is about anything interesting from Twitter, but rather, is about a generation of users who probably don't understand the full implications and potential consequences of disclosing personally identifying information or of turning your day-to-day life into a public spectacle.

        Explain the popularity of the Jerry Springer show, then. ;)

        I don't fall into the the "latest generation of users" and have always considered myself a generally private person (no Facebook for me), so here's a true story

        • by causality (777677)

          Explain the popularity of the Jerry Springer show, then. ;)

          Free airfare to a major city, travel expenses, and other forms of monetary gain, not to mention fame (well, more like infamy) and "being on TV". None of those are available to the average personal-life exhibitionist on Facebook or Twitter.

          It took almost an hour of conversation for me to finally say "No thanks". And an another hour to pass before I could say "WTF was I even thinking to consider the offer?"

          That's the only proper answer, once the eg

      • What you're missing about twitter is that it interfaces with the text messaging network. Its value is as a mass text-messaging service.

        It has nothing to do with AIM or YahooIM or ICQ or etc.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Al Al Cool J (234559)

        I believe it goes well beyond what can be done with IM.

        In Twitter I can post on a subject, and see what hundreds of other people around the world are saying about the same subject. I can reply to what they say, and they can reply to what I say. All this in real time. I can also refer back to what was said after that fact, and link to it.

        This can be done via web, SMS, or any of a dozen client apps. I can also follow individuals and subjects via RSS feeds.

        A cool recent trend is that many organisations now

      • by Phroggy (441)

        You slightly misunderstand.

        Twitter is built around SMS text messages. The whole original concept was that you could post messages from your cell phone and other people could receive them on their cell phones; no computer needed. Also, Twitter functions more like a mailing list: rather than choosing someone from your buddy list to send a message to, you just post your message and let the recipients subscribe (follow) if they want to receive your messages. None of these are new ideas, but Twitter combined

    • Follow more interesting people.

    • by orkybash (1013349)
      Did you try using it to read posts from people you know? Or just random people on the Internet?
  • ... because random strangers really need to know your physical whereabouts.

    What need does this fulfill?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      flash mobs, protests, meetings etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        flash mobs, protests, meetings etc.

        To make my question more specific: in which of those scenarios would you be disinclined to tell anyone your physical whereabouts and at the same time, would be glad that an automated system did this for you?

        Take meetings, for example. I send an e-mail to a group of co-workers saying "we can meet at X place at Y time." Everyone knows the location of X and knows how to get there, so my legitimate concern about location is satisfied. If I am in a meeting room with them, obviously I know where they are a

        • To make my question more specific: in which of those scenarios would you be disinclined to tell anyone your physical whereabouts and at the same time, would be glad that an automated system did this for you?

          Tracking location of people you attend a conference with. Sharing a road trip with friends. Treasure hunts. The list goes on.

          Just because you are unable to think of a use case -- or that such use cases are not personally important to you -- does not mean such a use case doesn't exist.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by causality (777677)

            Tracking location of people you attend a conference with. Sharing a road trip with friends. Treasure hunts. The list goes on.

            The problem with all of those scenarios is that there's no good way to limit that information to only the relevant parties. I don't need the world knowing my personal whereabouts because I couldn't be bothered to send an e-mail about the road trip to the handful of people with whom I want to share that information.

            Just because you are unable to think of a use case -- or that such u

            • 1. Twitter updates can be set to private
              2. On the ground, plans wreck, twitter is one more way to avoid plan-wreckage.
              3. It still remains about you
              • by causality (777677)

                1. Twitter updates can be set to private.

                That's a good thing. However, if you set them to private you restrict them to a small hand-picked group. Just the sort of small personally-chosen group that might already know you well enough to be aware of your plans to begin with. So again this location feature seems largely frivolous.

                2. On the ground, plans wreck, twitter is one more way to avoid plan-wreckage.

                That's what contingency planning is for. For anything important enough that failure would be descri

                • To be fair, I thought you were crtiicizing the existence of twitter in general, not just this app, which I agree seems a bit absurd, except maybe for the fact that some people's updates seem mostly to be of the "okay, I'm there" type.
                  • by causality (777677)

                    To be fair, I thought you were crtiicizing the existence of twitter in general, not just this app, which I agree seems a bit absurd, except maybe for the fact that some people's updates seem mostly to be of the "okay, I'm there" type.

                    As you say, that really is a separate question. Personally I don't use it because it doesn't appeal to me. While this is not nearly as true of Twitter as it is of Myspace and Facebook, I still think a great deal of the appeal of these sites is personal vanity. The way most people would feel excited about "being on TV" is similar to what is being indulged on those sites. For these reasons, I've never shared the willingness of those users to inform random strangers of their personal lives, names, hobbies,

                    • 've never shared the willingness of those users to inform random strangers of their personal lives, names, hobbies, interests, personal or personally identifying photos, and general location

                      For what it's worth - I've been posting to twitter for a while now and never once revealed any of these things. I have, however, found a number of people who write excellent haiku and short, evocative poetry(And a much higher number who write very bad forms of the same). Many others who just have amusing things to say.

                      That's my real objection when people say it exists only to please the vanity of the people posting -- that may capture the majority of users, but far from all.

            • I think it's more a matter of both wanting to provide the information to anyone who's interested in seeing it; and not caring if it's visible to anyone not interested.

              As far as whether it's a "because we can" feature, I don't see it. There are mobile clients that already append location to every tweet -- taking space in the message itself to do so. (google - site:twitter.com myloc.me -- this turns about 280,000 such posts from just that one site). So it seems to me that the folks at twitter are adding t

        • by dave1791 (315728)

          What I'm looking for is "ah-ha, this is the necessity that was the mother of this invention." And I'm not finding it, at all. It really just seems to be a way for Twitter to pander to the exhibitionist tendencies of some of its users. You know, the ones who think that making every moment of their personal life a public event is somehow desirable for them and/or somehow interesting for others.

          I think you arrived at your ah-ha right there.

    • I don't use Twitter, but I can imagine all sorts of uses (on top of the ones WizardForce mentioned) such as just a general interest in your town/city (pretending that you can limit the the tweets/twitterers to a location), which could also be good in catastrophes, tweet: "need help" and it shows the location, depending on how accurate it is could be useful/entertaining at a large festival tweet: "check out this ____", or guiding people to a location tweet: "no no no, you took the wrong road", or "still lost

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by owlnation (858981)

      What need does this fulfill?

      Not sure if it's a "need" per se... but this app does mean we know where all the stupid people are. That's definitely useful.

    • by extrasolar (28341)

      I was thinking more in lines of "natural disaster", so that the weather service can send everyone within a county a text message that there's a tornado warning.

      But odds are, this will be used so that the grocery store next door to the shoe store you're shopping in can tell you about their sale on bread.

    • Well, if someone is tweeting about pooping out their breakfast, if I know their location I can make sure I'm nowhere near them.

  • Data retention (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:59PM (#29156529)

    "...and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time."

    *face palm* Once it's on the internet, it's going to stay there til the end of days. People with billions of dollars have hired armies of lawyers to try and scrub data off the internet. They haven't yet succeeded. Hell, entire countries have tried. And to prove it... bomb president 9/11 terrorist airplane communist republican from france sucking down molitav cocktails and banging gay senators. There. Archived for infinity.

  • I ditched Twitter ages ago in part because of its lack of location awareness, since that capability was offered by other services like Brightkite.

  • by 1 a bee (817783) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:25PM (#29156697)

    Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice, and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time.

    Fat chance, me thinks. If this catches on, you can bet there will be 3rd party services that cache and index this location data indefinitely.

  • There are some things I think location-based services, now including Twitter, need to learn from previous experience of other location-based services like FireEagle:

    1. Don't require me to use any specific technology to update it. I don't have a smartphone, and don't really want one either. I have an iPod touch and I have a mobile phone. I quite like them being separate (the fact that my phone lasts a few days on standby and isn't tied to any specific provider is pretty nice). That said, I do use location ba

  • going to die the death that it so richly deserves?
    • by orkybash (1013349)
      Just because you don't use it doesn't mean it isn't useful or desired. I know a lot of people who have as much scorn for Slashdot as you seem to for Twitter.
      • by sitarlo (792966)
        Scorn for Slashdot? Why? It's just a classic forum for nerds. Twitter is a stupid fad service based on a stupid idea for stupid people who think they're important enough to track. It's another whateverScript "technology" like MySpace which was all the rage five years ago and is now all but abandoned. It amazes me that people flock to it. But, then again, people flock to a lot of really stupid things. There are sites and services for everybody I guess and that's a good thing I suppose so tweet your he
    • by kenh (9056)
      I like twitter for updates from folks I like (about 9), none of which I ever have or will meet (for instance, Tim O'Reilly or Penn Jilette) - interesting to get brief, casual insights into their activities, and it gives me a chance to reply (though I rarely do). It is a definite novelty, and soon the crowd will drown out the interesting bits, but until then...
  • In a world obsessed by privacy otherwise, why would I want this -- unless I'm incapable of tweeting more than: I am here!
  • Brightkite [brightkite.com] already has a pretty decent, open location-based API, and it interfaces to twitter and facebook.

    Can someone who knows about it explain what the difference between brightkite's localization and twitter's ?

  • I'm not quite sure wtf I/my friends/my family/any creepy fucker online/joe random/internet-equipped chimp at NASA/anyone would want to know anyone's whereabouts or what they are doing every waking moment of the second. Twitter is a 21st century abomination in itself; too much hype for 160 characters, IMHO. I can think of plenty of the most boring piped together, reg-ex'ify'd *NIX commands that serve a better purpose than some Twitter posts in the same character count. I believe people in less fortunate/d
  • Good, hopefully alot of people realize they no longer need to update everyone where they are at all times with tweets .... actually there was never a need.
  • This already exists, and it's called Loopt [loopt.com]. Support for all major phones/carriers + web browser, links with twitter & facebook. What's the big deal here?
  • Poop is coming out at 1 57' 33" East, 37 28' 01 North.
  • whatcouldpossiblygowrong

  • by kenh (9056) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:46PM (#29159941) Homepage Journal
    Can they add a URL a la tinyurl.com/bit.ly/etc instead/as an option?
  • Osama Bin Laden will tweet his Jihad message to all the sleeper cells, but forget to turn off the locator and then the military sends missiles to the exact spot he is standing only to find he was in New Jersey the whole time but left an hour before the missile strike. If that happened, Twitter would finally have a purpose.
  • I get the feeling that the script wizards who come up with this crap were never exposed to the old post war science fiction movies or books. We're going to code our own prison around us, and in many ways we already have. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should do it. We need to exercise some common sense. This is a bunch of expensive lawsuits and criminal investigations waiting to happen. "No Judge, I couldn't have been at the scene of the crime. I have twitter proof that I was at hom
  • Opt-in has to be seen in context. If you are not in control of providing the data, opt-in is a dangerous illusion.

    If you have a local application which supplies data to a system you could potentially chose what information you provide (we're assuming here for a moment that the app doesn't lie to you and just flags the opted out data as "opted out" instead). In that case, only your point of origin (your IP address) also contains a degree of location information.

    If, however, it's not *you* who provides loca

  • ÜberTwitter [ubertwitter.com] has been doing that for awhile now, probably since the first release. I've [twitter.com] been using it on my BlackBerry Bold [blackberry.com] for quite some time now, and it works great!

HOST SYSTEM NOT RESPONDING, PROBABLY DOWN. DO YOU WANT TO WAIT? (Y/N)

Working...