Are you still wondering what all those check-ins via FourSquare, Gowalla or all the others in the space are all about? Just to receive a discount on a lemonade it seems to be a bit trivial.
Therefore it was very interesting to me to hear the reason why Gowalla founder Josh Williams had originally started to build the app. He was sitting at lake Tahoe, taking a picture and wishing he could share the experience with his father at that moment or “shoe boxing” it.
Genealogy is becoming increasing popular again these days, there are several new start-ups in the space and if you do a search on Google for the term, you get about 144 million results. The problem is of course that in each family there is a handful of people who are really into saving the family history and then there are those who don’t care. Which family actually has a complete family tree and collection of photos of their ancestors today?
Now, if we take the idea of check-ins a step further and fast forward to the next generations we will have a totally new experience to learn about family roots and where we came from. Imagine your grand children would have access to your Gowalla account and the data you built up over the years. They could stand at the same place you did 50 or 100 years ago, look at the picture you took, watch the short video message you recorded for them. Your grand children would have a highly personalized experience that could teach them not only about their own roots but also about history itself.
Take a picture or video from outside of your home and your grandchildren could see on a map where you used to live. Take them directly to historic events like the Olympics or the inauguration of a new President.
There could also be the case that data from important public figures in history becomes part of the national library and historians or the interested public could walk in the footsteps of those famous people.
Sure, this all requires a general shift in our mindset what personal data is all about, what its value is etc. Already today, three copies of each printed book, newspaper and magazine are being saved in national libraries around the world for generations to come but we don’t have such a method for data yet.
Maybe, emphasizing the importance of data by making people want to save those memories for the next generation in their families and therefore build a rising demand for services that handle that data could be a step in the right direction as it might help rise awareness.