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Pinpointing location can improve web experience

July 22, 2013 - Art Smith
The mass amount of information available on the web can sometimes be overwhelming for users of websites and mobile applications.

Users quickly can get buried with too much information, which in most instances results in them not being able to find what they need. Allowing apps and websites to know your location is a great way to filter the information to what is likely most important to you - things that are near you.

On computers, your location is generally determined based on information about your Internet service provider. This method normally will determine your general location but can be somewhat inaccurate when your Internet provider is actually in a different community.

The other method, used mainly on mobile devices, uses the gps technology built into your phone to pinpoint your exact location.

The result can be both useful and at times a little intrusive; some might even find it a little creepy.

- The app for Retail Me gives you an alert when you are near a store with a digital coupon. Although in principle it's a cool feature, it has yet to alert me to anything I want to buy and has only worked in large outlet centers.

- Wikipedia’s website has a feature that will search for pages on things near to your location, a neat feature that can let you explore new areas.

- A large number of fitness apps use known information such as streets and elevation to determine not only your route but also the elevation changes along it.

- News apps can use your location to determine what stories you might be interested in.

- The Yelp App uses your location to determine what restaurants are near you.

Allowing an app or website to know your location is normally a positive things, but if you find it a little intrusive, you can opt out of it for that app.


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