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‘Workstreams’ for mobile business?

So Google made good on all their mobile machinations and release a product that knits together GeoRSS and KML and it’s called Google MyMaps. Intrigued by the idea of drawing my own maps, I decided to plot out the route I take when I jog.

What’s immediately obvious is that Google MyMaps is no Adobe Illustrator. The drawing tools are crude, and little thought has been given to creating maps that extend beyond the visible area on your screen.

Yes, you can click on the navigation buttons, but click in the wrong place and you make a mess of your map, which is then only fixed by deleting and starting from scratch. Obviously not ideal.

While this might seem like me being needlessly critical, it’s a valid point. I’m familiar with these concepts because I’m a designer, but for those people less familiar than I am, they’re going to make a few frustrating mistakes before they get it right. Some might even just give in.

It’s still a little confusing in my mind how all of this hangs together, even though I know where Google is going.

For instance, how do I get my maps into Google Earth? Better yet, why doesn’t Google Earth use the Google Account so I can sign in and see all of this stuff straight away in the My Places pane?

“Places found via GeoRSS or KML files can also be added to a map. These are good first steps in the annotation space but, both Live’s and Ask’s recent releases show that there is a lot more that can be done with this feature.”

Given that Google has competition, could they have rushed things a little? Maybe, maybe not. But with them having Google Earth to build from, if they did rush things, I’m not so sure why. Taking the time to coordinate their efforts would have yielded much greater results.

And then I started thinking

Disregarding the v1.0 teething troubles with Google MyMaps for a moment or two, and taking my previous thoughts on mobile content a little further, I have to wonder where all of this mobile stuff will take us. Maybe a little background, first:

“So imagine aggregating all of your personalized content together and tethering the whole thing to not only your various geographical locations, but also to one identity no matter where you are or what device or web browser you happen to be using.”

The task of embedding geographical extensions into your RSS feed becomes a trivial task for the technically savvy. Even more trivial if you’re on the move because your mobile device will no doubt sport some GPS features. So your mobile content could well be geo-tagged right away.

Which then leads me to expound upon another thought I had recently:

“So you’re out somewhere, you spot the right venue, you’ve got your stuff, you’re ready to roll, now all you need is an audience.

You’ve got your Twitter account, you’ve got hundreds if not thousands of friends. You whip out your mobile phone, you tap out a text message and wait for the people to emerge from anywhere & everywhere and you’re off to flyin’ start!”

I have it on good authority that mashin’ up your various personal feeds is a Lifestream.

Let’s think smaller. OK, maybe not smaller, but add a little more specificity to the Lifestream thing. Let’s think business.

So you have your Twitter account, which only provides updates to known friends. You’ve subscribed to something like the web applications I’m currently working on, so you have feeds for job tickets, calendar events, outstanding tasks, reports et cetera.

Imagine linking all of this together into your own feed that your colleagues can subscribed to – and extend with team data – telling them not only what you’re doing, but when you’re doing it and where.

The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination and certainly not your location…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

4 replies on “‘Workstreams’ for mobile business?”

[…] onto the roofs of their premises when Google announced Google Maps way back when. More recently, Google released Google MyMaps, giving us the tools to create outlines of the land and property we ow…, or maybe the route we take when we jog, for example. “Mapplets will use both the Google Gadgets […]

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