Right Plaze, Right People, Right Time

Plazeslogo-New Plazes is getting a major update, and I’m amongst the lucky few to have been invited to play with the preview version…

I’ve been a Plazes user for well over a year now, and I’ve got a small group of friends there. I’ve never understood why the service hasn’t developed more of a critical mass. For those who have not come across Plazes before, it is a location-awareness service that allows you to publish your physical location. The original version did this via some quite clever technology which ran as a small application on your desktop (the “Plazer”) and used your network ID to work out where you were located. Over time, that has changed, and although today you can still run a desktop app, you can also run the Plazer on your mobile, use SMS, or just update your location on a Google Maps interface.

The new version is pretty nice. Rather than just saying where you are now, you can also say where you were, and where you will be – treading into Dopplr territory here. Not only that, you can say what you are (or will be) doing there – rather like Twitter. They also now have a groups feature, which enables places and people to be grouped together – handy for conferences, or for businesses or organisations.

New Plazes

This is an early release that a few of us have been allowed to get a look at, so some things don’t work fully yet… for example, there is no Plazer application (it isn’t needed any more, but I understand that there will be a new version), and I can’t seem to edit the details of a future Plaze yet. I’m sure all of these things will come. I also can’t see where my “karma” for Plazes discovery and usage is, now… I was doing fairly well on the old scale!

The fact that you no longer have to rely on the Plazer is a big deal… it might persuade people like Dale to take another look 🙂

I guess for me, the biggest question is how easy this will be to mashup with other web applications. I don’t really want to type my status / what I’m doing into both Plazes and Twitter (or Jaiku, if I ever move off there). I can see a lot of power and value in Plazes, but it would be nice if all of the web apps I use regularly worked together, instead of building their own empires. No information on the new API as yet.

If you are interested in location-awareness or geolocation applications, remember that this Friday’s Minibar unconference in London is a themed around location – hope to see you there.


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6 thoughts on “Right Plaze, Right People, Right Time”

  1. I’m definitely looking forward to the new Plazes. I haven’t tried the new SMS features yet, but I have always wanted Plazes to not be so dependent on my wireless network and laptop. I think the new version looks more flexible and I hope it gets more of a following. 🙂

  2. I’ve used SMS with the old Plazes, and it always worked well for me. The stability of the new version has improved dramatically over the weekend (I think I must have hit it at a bad time on Friday night). I’m going to see where it goes – although I agree with others (see Adrian’s linked article) that I’d like to see more integration with other social networks, not competition.

  3. I guess it will be interesting to see what happens when this sort of information starts to get used in law courts as part of the prosecution/defense of someone by implying that they were at a particular location at a particular time.
    For now, I think the less the world knows about what I’m doing and where I am, the better !

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