I’ve been using Plazes for nearly a year and never had anyone I didn’t know show up where I was at. Until I stopped in the old Aula space (nowadays called Café Java) here in Helsinki to access the free wifi, and noticed a user named Bronek was there too. Curious, I checked his blog. As he was writing about interesting stuff, I emailed him just to say hello. Five minutes later the fellow sitting at the table next to me turned around and introduced himself as Bronek. We both thought it was a pretty geeky (in the fun sense!) way to meet.

Meeting Bronek reminded me about the logical step of integrating place information to IM. This would turn IM into a tool for initiating spontaneous face-to-face encounters. It would be in line with the quest for ‘enhanced social peripheral vision’ that IM is all about.

So, for a start, how about adding a Place list to iChat? It would display my favourite hangouts, and list the users who are currently logged in at those places (to manage privacy, there could be a menu: ‘make my location public’ / ‘allow only buddies to see my location’ / ‘keep my location private’). When I notice a person I don’t know at place where I regularly go, I’d like to be able to pull up their blog by right-clicking on their name. It could look something like this:


Further down the road, with a bit of RSS integration it’d be nice to glance at other online users’ public feeds (to see their latest bookmarks, blogroll, readings, music, etc.)

Similarly, it’d be nice to access/edit a map, tags, and other annotations by clicking on the place.


Feed   Trackback Address
Boris Anthony
May 12th, 2005 at 8:18 am (#)

Totally. Except I don’t see Apple ever doing this. Instead, we could try to get the devs of Adium to do so. It is Open Source afterall.
This also would interest the folks at Montreal’s free community wifi organisation, Ile Sans Fil [1]. They have put tremendous work and effort into creating a content distribution platform which spans all their hotspots, and I know for a fact that Michael, their fearless leader, has been dreaming just this kind of functionality, though more “Rendezvous/Bonjour/ZeroConf” style. Me too, of course. ;)
Tu devrais repasser à Montreal, Jyri!
[1] http://www.ilesansfil.org

May 15th, 2005 at 2:25 pm (#)

T’a raison Boris. Et c’a déjà été un long temps depuis que j’ai visité là. We should talk.

May 25th, 2005 at 3:11 pm (#)

check out the new launcher by martin pittenauer of the codingmonkeys. he has written a launcher using our api with ichat integration. its a little simpler than what you layed out, just putting your current plaze, city or lat/long into the ichat status, but still you might wanna check it out.

June 6th, 2005 at 8:35 am (#)

Interesting story about the encounter! The interface idea is interesting too. We were bouncing around some ideas for connecting people in physical space based on connections in virtual space a few years ago, which we called “Blogger Bridges” (http://seattleweb.intel-research.net/projects/blogger_bridges/). We never moved much beyond the conceptual phase on this (but did hack up some images for how this might look om a mobile phone). More recently, Sean Savage put together a system called PlaceSite (http://www.placesite.com) that was deployed for a time in a Berkeley cafe.

July 4th, 2005 at 12:18 am (#)

Peter Rukavina wrote this AppleScript for Adium. It pulls out the place information from Plazes and displays it as the IM presence line. V+ nice!

July 6th, 2005 at 12:32 am (#)

Auch Jyri hat ein Plazes-Erlebnis der dritten Art

Immer mehr Plazes-User finden sich ja im selben WLAN. (Wir berichteten.) Nun erzählt Jyri von einem solchen Erlebnis in der wunderbaren Aula in Helsinki….

Leave a Comment