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This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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4 October 2009 - 18:11Vicinity-like iPhone app for ‘nearby people I’ve met on-line’?

Another from the crazy ideas dept….

Whilst preparing for the ‘How to build a network‘ workshop last week I got to wondering about conferences and groupings of geeks (and Normals, but they need to catch-up with our tech first).

Why is it that when I’m at a conference or event, I don’t know if anyone nearby is a person that I haven’t met in real-life but someone that I do know online?  Surely there’s an iPhone app for that…

Here’s what I want – I start (proposed duff name) ‘WhosHere’ and it tells me, via my location:

  • TF people are nearby that are Twitter friends (two way reciprocal relationship or at least I’m following them)
  • NF people are nearby that I’ve referred to on Twitter but I don’t follow or vice-versa
  • BL people are nearby who have a blog that I’ve commented on (see below for details)
  • EM people are nearby who I’ve referred to in email recently (see below for details)
  • Same for Facebook, LinkedIn etc…

Probably I can mark off people that I know well so it doesn’t keep showing them to me (or maybe they appear in a separate tab?) – I’m interested in finding out when people I don’t know well are nearby as this will help me to turn weak-ties into stronger-ties.

Tieing a location to Twitter friends is probably really easy (assuming they’re posting location info). Presumably searching for people tweeting via a location is also easy (since iPhone apps already do it).

For the blog (BL) report the iPhone app would need to talk to a service that can check the Twitter profiles of nearby people, reference their blogs (or use a social graph explorer) and determine if I have left them a comment (since I’d use my domain when commenting) or linked to their blog.  I’d love to see this in an app!

For the email (EM) report the app would need to read my email (can it do that?) and look for names or URLs that are mentioned.  From these it can do a similar lookup via nearby Twitter people as for the blog report above.  Knowing that a company or individual is nearby that I’ve referred to in an email with a friend could be really interesting.

Am I barking up a crazy tree or does this idea make some sense?

Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

5 Comments | Tags: Business Idea, Life