More and more, “sometime in the future” is yesterday, and the ubiquitous “New Year’s Tech Predictions” lists find themselves rendered obsolete by mid-January. In the news, for real: The Korean Times reports that South Korea’s developing a line of security robots that, by their 2010 launch, should be able to make night watch rounds and, if necessary, chase criminals. “OK, officer, I give up. Please don’t fry my head with your laser.” Oh, also, they’re kicking around the idea of dog or horse-shaped combat robots for military use. Can I just surrender now? Inexpensive private-sector robots intended for house cleaning and child care(!!!), some of whom can recharge themselves automatically, should debut later this year.
Less weird by a couple of degrees, but still weird, is this:
As reported this week (2/1/06) in Search Engine Journal, local mobile search in Japan just got a whole lot more precise. Aided by GPS, compass navigation, and cellular photo technology, Mapion Local Search (developed by Tokyo’s Mapion and San Francisco’s GeoVector Corporation) provides a little deeper level of functionality than your standard mobile search service. Have you ever visited an unfamiliar city and tried to find, say, a particular restaurant? You looked it up, you got directions, you followed them. You know you’re in the right place, but where is it? All the @#&%@#!!! buildings look the same, and would it hurt them to have a sign you could actually see? You don’t want to ask someone and look like a gol durn hayseed, but what other options do you have? Hey, I have an idea. Just point your cell phone at the nearest building, and it’ll tell you what it is. VFW Administration. OK, what’s next door? Eureka! Thus, the power of Mapion Local Search. In the GeoVector press release, president John Ellenby states “Soon users will be pointing their mobile phones at restaurants and getting reviews, pointing at billboards and going to the advertiser’s mobile site for shopping, pointing at a movie poster and buying a ticket, playing a game by pointing at [their] friends, the potential is enormous.”
The potential is enormous. It’s the WikiPedia of real life. And what’s this mean for SEO/M? Well, here’s a scenario: someone hungry, someone in need of a restaurant, just pointed their cell phone at your establishment and got a review. Who wrote it? What’s it say? You’re probably hoping his/her teeny screen says “a sublime eating experience…not to be missed!” You’re probably hoping his/her teeny screen doesn’t say “go ahead, eat there. Just put ‘911’ on voice-dial first.” If you weren’t worried about your online reputation before, well, now you are. More questions: how user-friendly is your mobile site for shopping? How easily can the increasingly fickle Average Search User navigate your site? Are you ready for this?
My Probably-Already-Obsolete Tech Prediction for 2006: you better be.