GeoLife at TechFest

Every year around this time Microsoft Research allows us a glimpse at the technological development that has been taking place behind closed doors all over the globe in Microsoft’s efforts to address some of the world’s most challenging technical problems. The TechFest event is held at the Microsoft campus in Redmond and draws specialist in diverse fields of research out into the spot light for a few days with the Microsoft product teams.

One of the most interesting technologies this year for me is GeoLife which is a location-based social-networking service running on top of Microsoft Virtual Earth. It enables users to share life experiences and build connections among each other using their location history. Laura Foy over at  Channel 10 has interview with Yu Zheng exploring this technology. 

Why GeoLife 2.0? I have no idea; but my guess is that 1.0 couldn't have been that good.

The possibilities that integration of on-device-GPS positioning with pervasive social networking is at once both exciting and scary for me. With this type of real world information finding its way, in near real time, into cyber space the prospect of  identity theft and worse needs to be properly understood by all and the security and trust of these social services will need to be correctly managed for the benefits to outweigh the obvious risks. I cant think of one burglar out there that wouldn't love to know how far you were from home at all times during that tricky removal your brand new big screen LCD TV from it’s wall mount.