Monday, October 3, 2011

On Caring What Where I Was Is Called

I like the way the way the Microsoft Photosynth panorama app purports to tie into Bing maps (bless their hearts, Bing. They want it so bad). Problem is, it doesn't follow through.

Here is my manual Facebook check-in at this river silt facility to which my friends and I like to bring our collective kids. We call it "the Sand Pits." I like how it is a vast nowhere in the middle of lush Louisiana. It's like a palette cleanser to my region's banquet-like terrain.

Here is the panorama of "The Sand Pits" that picked up on my check-in.

and I'd show you where it is in Bing Itself but they are (at the time of this writing) verifying it or something, and that verification will likely fail because the place isn't really called "The Sand Pits". But the Facebook Bing map has it pegged. It's as is if Facebook doesn't care what where I was is called; it's calling it.

The idea here, I think, is that millions of people will spin on one foot and capture these little bubbles of reality and those will overlap on the Bing maps and create a 3D, traversable bubbleworld, except that it seems that Bing is making the crucial error of wanting to get the information right rather than using the data as it is given. Verification is so old media. It just bogs down the Great Aggregation that will show us what we are.

Facebook in this case, and many others, socially trumps the established media concept (Bing; cartography in general) by using it as a vehicle for data. You just go make your little awesome maps and all, Microsoft, I'll make it "mean something". It reminds me of the schism between I.T. professionals that develop software and the entrepreneur types who make the things do things useful to actual people. It's why everyone knows Steve Jobs name but not the name of the guy who actually made the thing you associate with Steve Jobs' genius.

It struck me that this is the first time I've really though about Microsoft, a company I am OK with and even worked for at one point, in an app context. Any idiot can make apps but can Microsoft? Who ultimately gets how this will all play out? The mappers or the map-makers?

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