At the Geoloco event last night, where Matt Galligan, CEO of Redpoint company, SimpleGeo, took part in a panel on the future of location, privacy dominated the conversation, despite many valiant attempts to change topics. While there were differing points of view presented from privacy is dead to hide your children, SkyNet is watching, some very interesting points were made.
1. Location data isn't new, it is just new to users – Carriers have gathered this data as part of the 911 program for decades. But, users are now able to record their location at high accuracy with the adoption of GPS in the smartphone, wifi and cell phone triangulation.
2. A highly contentious point, but one that I agree with: privacy is only a concern when the user value proposition is poor. Swapping my location for step by step driving directions or highly relevant search results is natural because the value is clear. As FourSquare CEO Dennis Crowley said, the key to success in location apps is maximizing the user value.
3. Monetization on local services will be driven by intent, just like the web. There are many manifestations of intent on the web: search queries, reading content, filling out forms, clicking on ads and shopping on an ecommerce site. Location adds more information for better finding and targeting intent.
4. Location will be part of most applications. Combining location information with other data set like tweets, music listening habits, social graph, todos, points of interest, hours of operation, crocodile mating habits and so on, provides a myriad of new value to users, and reasons to exchange location for value.
All of these conclusions heightens my excitement for what SimpleGeo is doing and the enormous potential of location aware applications, as a user and investor.