I have been dabbling with Plazes for the past few weeks, which is a location-based networking site. The little flash-based map in the right hand column of this blog showing where I am comes from them. The site has enough cool features that I've stuck with it, but to be honest I've had quite a lot of frustrations with it too. The cool features for me are the aforementioned flash widget, and the ability to update your location in real time using SMS text messages - this feature is well thought out and seems to work very well. However, I find the layout of the web site very confusing and hard to navigate, and missing some obvious functionality, like the ability to update your location (with the same capabilities that you have via SMS). You can't edit places you've been, or enter where you were after the fact. They have a downloadable tool called the Plazer which locates you based on connection to a WiFi network, but I still haven't managed to get that to work, on two different laptops so far (one running XP and one Vista).
However, in this week's newsletter, the folks at Plazes promise some significant upgrades soon which hopefully will address some of these issues ...
Some of you might have already heard through the grapevine and now we will make it official: Plazes will be bringing out a new version later next month (May)! The newly designed Plazes will come along with an array of new features complete with a new, user-friendly interface. One of the many new features that will be premiered is the setting of past and future Plazes. Remember that backpacking trip through India that you didn't have a chance to document on Plazes? Well, with the new version you will be able to document the Plazes you have been to and share this information complete with pictures and comments with your friends. Upon popular demand, the new version will also let you set Plazes you plan to visit in the future. So if you are planning a business trip to Asia next month, with the new version of Plazes you will be able to coordinate meetups in advance. There are still many more new features to look forward to. Stay tuned for more information about the new Plazes in next week's newsletter!
I look forward to seeing these updates soon. Now what I really want is integration with the GPS on my BlackBerry 8800!!