Do you use your mobile phone to surf the internet? I don’t, at least when I can avoid it. Compared to using a PC with a fast DSL connection, an UMTS-enabled mobile phone is a poor replacement: more expensive, slower and harder to use. The only advantage is… well, that you’re mobile, of course?
There’s more, though, at least there could be: location based services, which are mobile services based on (or at least enhanced by) the knowledge of your current geographical position. Obvious example: take Google Maps on a mobile phone, add the position of the user and you’ve got something like a hand held GPS device with map functions.
Not very revolutionary, I agree. However, having read this article in The Observer (also mentioned on heise.de and golem.de), I’m sure there’ll be more. Imagine a social network system which doesn’t just know your preferences and friends, but also which friends or potentially interesting persons are near to you, right in this very moment! For example, you could have a powerful combination of the Lovegetty and an internet dating site.
Now let’s make no mistake here: the mobile telcos know about this idea and many other great ones for location based services. They just haven’t implemented them (at least not on a large scale) for a number of reasons (privacy concerns, the need to develop powerful software, maybe also simple lack of money after the UMTS disaster in Germany).
Google’s got money, highly capable programmers, creative developers and the courage to implement new ideas. I’m expecting something more than just a phone which has Google set as the home page in its browser.
Don’t despair, we can’t all be Warren Buffets. Instead, think about it this way: There are about 6,6 Billion people living on this planet. If everybody just gave you 10 US$, you’d have 66 Billion US$ and could make Buffet look rather poor.
OK, so you tried that, sent 10 US$ to 5 people on that list you received by email and nobody ever sent you any money? Too bad, but that’s not really my point. Instead, I was trying to illustrate that small actions by many people can have an enormous impact, too (I know, Gandhi probably said it more eloquently). Which leads us to We Are What We Do, “a new movement inspiring people to use their everyday actions to change the world”.