Twitter is making it easier for developers to tap into Places data, which should fuel more interesting functionalities around locations in a lot of apps.
In a Twitter API Announcements Google Groups thread, Twitter Developer Advocate Matt Harris said the company's been working with partners like &E Television Networks and History, Apontador, CityGrid Media, DotMenu/Allmenus, Gowalla, Infogroup, Localeze, Maponics, OpenTable, TomTom, Wcities, Yellow Pages Group (Canada), and Zagat to grow its data set of places.
"These partnerships serve as a foundation for a number of exciting features we have planned to help users find what's new in their area and around the world," says Harris. "To make it easy for you to use the large data set, we’re using an index that combines the IDs across different partners into one. This means you can use the IDs from your preferred partner's dataset when using Twitter Search to find Tweets about a specific place."
Twitter launched Twitter Places back in the summer on Twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com. The feature lets you tag tweets with specific places by sharing location. However, the partnerships mentioned above should be a much more helpful for developers in bringing a very wide range of place information to developers to build from. The possibilities would seem to be about endless for what developers can do from there.
You can expect location-based apps to bring a lot of new and interesting things to the table in the coming year, and this should help any of them take advantage of relevant Twitter information.
Beyond the Foursquares, Gowallas, and all of these things, it would not be surprising to see search engines like Google and Bing taking advantage. Just today, Google's Marissa Mayer discussed the company's direction in local, and an increased focus on "contextual discovery" and "pushing" data to users before they search for it. Pushing relevant geographical tweets could be one conceivable instance.
Think going to a business' Place Page on Google and seeing tweets from people who have checked into that location, for example.
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has been expressing a similar vision to what Mayer was talking about - using the location technology to serve different kinds of relevant information - something that makes the service worth using beyond just checking in for points or badges. These are the kinds of things that will distinguish location-based services from one another - why some will succeed and others will fail, and why some of them will be able to co-exist. It's all about what they offer, and we've barely scratched the surface on that I believe. Mayer mentioned going to a restaurant and Google serving you the menu, possibly with some added social relevance based on your own personal connections.
Twitter is a treasure trove of information - news, opinions, and observations. At the geographical level tweets can often be more useful - contextual. Like Twitter's outgoing VP of Product, Jason Goldman said: there's still a lot of room in the Twitter ecosystem for "interesting innovations in relevance."
Plus, as Harris said, Twitter has its own "exciting features" planned.