The Economist about the geoweb

The Economist's tech quarterly has a good piece about the geoweb called "The World on Your Desktop". Although nothing is really new here, the description gives a good overview of the current state of the industry. As usual, expectations are high:

"At the same time, the incorporation of satellite-positioning technology into mobile phones and cars could open the floodgates. When it is available, simply moving about one's neighbourhood can then be tantamount to browsing and generating content without doing anything, as demonstrated by a company called Socialight. Its service lets mobile users attach notes to any location, to be read by others who come along later. Taken further, the result could end up being a sort of extrasensory information awareness, annotation and analysis capability in the real world. “When that happens”, says Mr Jones, “then the map is actually a little portal on to life itself.” The only thing that can hold it back, he believes, is the rate at which society can adapt."


"Since the beginning of last year more than 20 geospatial firms have been the targets of mergers and acquisitions, with Google, Microsoft and ESRI among the buyers. But it is not quite time to declare the dawn of Web 3.0. For one thing, consumer geobrowsing does not make any money. "

Why do I blog this? the article is very interesting and I can imagine that E. readers need this sort of update but I don't understand why the author does not put things in more perspective. It's been now 5-10 years that people, start-ups, academic labs and big companies are working on this topic and the failures or problems are scarcely discussed. Or, when something is discussed it's the lack of business model. But there are tons of other issues: granularity of information, relevance of these systems in people's lives and habits, reliance on certain (seamful) infrastructures, etc.