With increasing numbers of people accessing the Internet on mobile devices there is a call for a quick, easy way to sort locally relevant content from the mountain of online data. To address this need HP is dipping its toes in the geo-tagging waters with Gloe – a concept service that allows users to find, recommend and contribute locally relevant web content on mobile devices.
Developed by HP Labs, Gloe is a cloud service that allows billions of web pages to be tagged with location data to make them easier to find for mobile users. The service’s software engine adds geographic relevance to web pages and parses this geographic metadata to automatically sort web content and make it relevant and useful.
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In addition to geographic relevance, the HP Gloe app allows users to filter pages by friend’s recommendations, popularity, distance or category. Friend’s recommendations can be filtered via the service’s Facebook Connect integration, while filter categories include music, sports, tourist attractions, and maps.
Users can also tag new web pages that are relevant to a certain location, create or view a poll tagged to a particular location, or create a new web page tagged to a particular location like a “virtual post-it note”.
The app determines a user’s location using their devices’ GPS, IP address, or through manually typing in a location. It will then list areas of interest and tie these to recommendations or online content. This could include the official website of the establishment or review websites such as TripAdvisor.
Gloe is built on top of a distributed database framework using open-source tools including MySQL and Hadoop. So far the Gloe database includes pre-populated content from Wikipedia and some review and photo sharing sites.
The HP Gloe app currently runs on Blackberry and mobile devices running Android 1.5+, with an experimental HTML only version of the service that runs on any mobile device with a HTML web browser also available. Additionally, HP has also made an open API available to facilitate the development of third-party apps or websites integrating the Gloe database.
Although HP says Gloe is just a concept at the moment, it hopes people will check it out and developers will build on the API to see what can be done with it. The response it receives will probably be the deciding factor as to whether it does or doesn’t become commercialized in the future.
Already there are a few applications in Google’s Android Market that make use of the Gloe database, including local polling service Geo Poll, fan club service Geo Fan and voice recorder Geo Sound. Like HP Labs, we’ll be interested to see what other applications people can come up with for the service.