Several of you have asked, but I’m still digesting the news. More later…
Posted in: Tools.
From a news standpoint, it’s a another PR coup for mighty Google. The Sunday Business section of the NYT ran a cooler-than-thou profile of “The Man Behind the Google Phone,” Andy Rubin, and then, whammo, the announcement came today.
From a technology standpoint, I don’t know. There was no substance to this announcement. I searched open source cellphone on Google and found a Slashdot post from earlier in the year with this comment:
“Well, honestly, every year (over the past couple of years at least) has seen several companies or groups claiming to be the first Open Source cell phone effort.”
Now, obviously Google has the programming muscle (and marketing might) to achieve what the guerilla efforts couldn’t.
From a public good standpoint — the righteous subtheme of Citizen Media — I’d like to add a retort here. I read Mark Glaser’s excellent report on the online coverage of the Southern California fires. It led me to Rebecca Coates Nee, a former TV reporter in San Diego, who voiced a complaint that hyperlocal online journalism was almost-great: it didn’t reach the point of telling her when it was safe to return home to her street. So I sketched out a proposal for how we could use cellphones to compile damage-assessment data (see Geotagging Emergency Media) It’s not that different than what Andrew Rasiej used on his campaign for NYC Public Advocate in 2005 (or what Bakersfield, CA is doing today) to report potholes, except that I’m proposing that the geotagging should be done automatically by the phones, and instead of needing to be manually entered over the web.
I sent it out over the weekend to people working on hyperlocal “geotagging” efforts and on emergency alert protocols. I also dropped a message to a member Verizon’s corporate communications team, who told me he’d pass it along. Overall, the response was underwhelming.
Which effort do you think should be getting more attention from bloggers and citizen media proponents?
I have a couple of thoughts:
– Google’s Android is the new “Microsoft Hailstorm” (.Net vaporware).
– Google has hired way too many ex-Microsofties already.
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