Twitter is paying much more attention to location as a feature, as we first reported in June.
Twitter cofounder Biz Stone announced today that the company is preparing to launch a new feature that allows developers to tag each tweet with a person’s latitude and longitude. This will be an opt-in feature, off by default, and exact location data will not be stored for extended periods.
This could be useful for any number of features, such as reading nearby tweets, reading tweets near a specific location, or adding location context to a tweet’s text — like knowing which Starbucks in Manhattan someone is tweeting about. Presumably, Twitter could also use this information for location-based advertising, if that market ever becomes significant.
Twitter already attaches a location to each tweet, but it’s based on the location setting you’ve typed in your profile. For some people, the Twitter app they use tags their current location with each tweet, via GPS or another technology. But most people have the location they typed in manually, like “San Francisco” or even their neighbourhood name. (And in some cases, that is worthless for parsing — such as my location, “NYC via Chicago.”)
No doubt this is partially the work of recent Twitter hire Ryan Sarver, who, as we reported in June, left location-based startup Skyhook Wireless to join the Twitter team. Biz Stone refers to him as Twitter’s “geolocation lead” in his post today.
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