Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Contextual Holy Grail of Location -WHERE Inc moves us one step closer

I have been presenting my ideas on Location-Aware services for some time now, and a key idea I originally presented is that of a 'Contextual Holy Grail'. This is the idea that location on its own is useful but that 'location+context' is the future for these services. If I am travelling to a ski resort and check my weather forecast app, I would like it to recognise where I am heading to automatically and (again automatically) provide latest snow condition reports.

Yesterday, WHERE Inc, one of the early location pioneers based in the US, obtained a patent that could take us one step closer to fulfilling at least part of this contextual requirement. Their Auto-Snap technology allows location relevancy and intent to be detected. While this patent is, admittedly, designed for delivering more targeted ads, it also opens up the possibility of other targeted services to be delivered.

You can read the full press release below:


Patent Improves the Relevancy of Place Recommendation to a User on a Mobile Phone

BOSTON, MA – October 12th, 2010 – Where, Inc., North America’s largest location-based media company, today announced that the Company has received approval from the U.S. Patent Trademark Office for their Auto-Snap™ patent. Where’s Auto-Snap technology creates an association between a person and a place, which enhances the ability to derive intent resulting in improved relevance of place recommendations. 

Auto-Snap uses distance tolerances, landmark patterns, temporal patterns, knowledge of business attributes, knowledge of event occurrences, season or weather knowledge, common place names, user saved places and other types of factors and techniques. 

“With Auto-Snap we are able to determine location relevancy and intent of a consumer,” said Walt Doyle, CEO of Where, Inc. “With this technology, we can better understand the context of a person’s location and improve the match rate for content and ads delivered on our network. Auto-Snap lets us know if a user is at home, in the office or at a favorite restaurant giving us the unique ability to improve the overall WHERE consumer experience and better align the relevance of the WHERE Ads we deliver.” 

Auto-Snap is also being used in WHERE Ads to improve the relevance of display advertisements and search results, including offers and discounts, creating a better experience for the consumer and optimized yield for publishers.  

“Enhancing the relevancy of advertisements is one of the top priorities in the mobile ecosystem. WHERE has proven their ability to deliver great results for a strong pool of advertisers, and we count them among the best ad networks in the space. We look forward to learning more about Auto-Snap—an exciting new technical innovation,” said Marc Theermann, Vice President Mobile, AdMeld.