ipoki (and What I Really Want for My Blog)

14May08

Over the weekend I took some time to thoroughly test drive the Nokia N95‘s Internet-based A-GPS. First off: the experience of using apps like Google Maps or the Nokia Sportstracker with it is just excellent. Blazing fast fix times (30 seconds to a minute, maybe) and reliable signal reception. Even works indoors with no trouble.

I also tested out a service called ipoki. ipoki provides a platform for you to share your location with the public over the Web, similar to what e.g. Plazes, dodgeball, Livecontacts , Brightkite or a whole lot of other location-enabled mobile social apps will let you do. ipoki also comes with it’s own mobile application, which is available for Windows Mobile, Blackberry or Symbian devices. They’re calling it the ipoki “plugin”. (It’s really just a Java/.NET application. IMO calling it a “plugin” doesn’t make it look any cooler or less technical. But as long as they’re happy with the name, I’m fine with that. Eeeeven though the technical purist in me is… you know… irritated. πŸ˜‰ ) UPDATE: Technical purist I may be, but I have also undeliberately exposed myself as a NON-SPANISH-SPEAKING technical purist. Thanks to Javier for pointing out that “plugin” in spanish sounds like “small app” – which is ok for an excuse πŸ˜‰

Anyways, I installed the “plugin” and – while it definitely won’t win a beauty contest in it’s current state – it works and is easy to use. Capturing GPS location and syncing it to the server is effortless, and there’s also a ‘map’ feature that will show you a static Google Map image of your location with options to zoom in and out. Neat. Once your location is synced, other people can track you on a Google Map (see mine here) or via a KML network link in Google Earth. The website even has a mobile-friendly version that’s using a static Google Map instead of the JavaScript-ed desktop one.

The process of syncing your location to the Web from your phone with ipoki is actually fun (yes I know I’m a very strange person), and for what it’s worth, I would definitely want to have a map of my ipoki location on my blog’s sidebar! ipoki does give you the option to do just that, i.e. they provide a link to embed your map elsewhere. Trouble is, however, that my hosted wordpress.com blog doesn’t allow me to add JavaScript code…

So: what I really want to see is an API that will give me nothing but a static Google Map with my current ipoki location on it. Think something like

<img src=”http://ipoki.com/maps/rainer?width=240&height=320&gt;

you get the idea. I don’t think ipoki – or any other service out there, for that matter – currently does this. Correct me if I’m wrong! Hm. Maybe I should start building something like that myself. Now that I got so much more time on my weekends again πŸ˜‰



4 Responses to “ipoki (and What I Really Want for My Blog)”

  1. Hi Rainer.

    First, I agree with you about the term “plugin”. It makes more sense in Spanish (not that is an Spanish word, but sounds more like “small app”), but I understand how the technical purist in you feels ;-).

    Regarding the embedded map, we are using an iframe, but as you say WordPress.com doesn’t allow javascript nor iframes, so by now…

    We take note about the static map API. We are designing a new and more complete API, and your suggestion is a very interesting one.

    Javier Cancela
    Co-founder
    http://www.ipoki.com

  2. Well, 8Motions can track you too, I can quickly do this static google map integration if interested! πŸ˜‰

  3. Well, it looks like the offers are in! πŸ˜€ (And that I need to change my plans for the weekend again.)

  4. UPDATE: A quick look at the sidebar reveals: I’ve hacked a small solution. Nokia N95 to static Google Map. Still tweaking it, working on a few things; and will post the details of what’s under the hood once it’s complete!


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