Twitter wants to know where you are

A new location-sharing tool lets you tell the Twitterverse where you are

Twitter knows where you are -- at least in the U.S.

The microblogging site on Thursday night turned on its new geolocation feature, which allows you to tell the Twitterverse where you are when you tweet. The new feature, which is off by default, is only available to U.S. users right now, but should be rolled out in other countries fairly soon, according to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

"A recent burst of interest in location-sharing applications, games and services has many Twitter users excited about appending geographic data to some of their tweets," wrote Stone in a blog post. "People who choose to add this additional layer of context help make Twitter a richer information network for all of us -- location data can make tweets more useful."

By noting your location, Stone said it will be easier for other Twitter users to find information about their particular area or neighborhood.

"Let's say I'm at my office and I hear a loud boom," he added in his blog. "It sounded serious, so I search Twitter for "boom." Among the first results could be someone who tweeted "Boom go the fireworks!" This could be anywhere in the world. However, if that person had activated the new tweet location feature, then the neighborhood data under the tweet would read, SoMa [San Francisco's South of Market district]. Now, I know it's just fireworks going off in my neighborhood."

A user's location also will be linked to a Google map so followers can use that to further explore the area.

Late in January, Twitter launched its Local Trends feature, which was designed to help users find tweets related to specific areas.

With yesterday's announcement, users will be able to note their own location, making it easier for other users to get information pertaining to an area of interest.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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