Location Based Self-Service

WhereWuz, a GPS application for iPhone and Android, launched this week. I bought it from the iTunes store and tried it out Thursday morning. Here are some initial impressions. (Disclosure: my law firm represents the company, Sunny Day Software, that makes it.)

The app tracks you wherever you go. Check that: it tracks you wherever you go with a powered up phone.

Search for parkingAnd it is very, very precise! Here's a map of my search for street parking Thursday morning. (I didn't know my garage would be closed for Veterans Day.)

The app is collecting data continuously. For my total trip into work this morning, starting from my favorite coffee shop (seat of my only impregnable Foursquare mayoralty), with a fruitless stop at the UW/Husky ticket office (closed; again, Veterans Day), through the aforementioned search for parking and a short walk to the office, the app reports that it logged my position 356 times. This in the course of 35 minutes.

I wonder how my battery will take the workout the app will be giving it.

In an email to friends and family announcing the launch, Sunny Day founder Craig Rosenberg describes the app as "your own personal GPS time machine." His intent is clearly to put the tracking data to the service of the person being tracked. The functionality of the app and the reports it generates reflect this.

For instance, the app lets you expand or contract a rectangle over a map, to define a geographic region. You can then generate a report on when in the past you have moved through that region.

One imagines gray areas down the metaphorical road. Will the reports eventually be portable to other services, many of which have antiquated, ad-based business models? Will data from other location based services be pullable into WhereWuz? At the outset, though, I very much like that the tracking here is robustly reported and all at the service of the trackee, and not marketers.

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