AOL is introducing a location plug-in called Skyhook for their instant messaging platform AIM so people can see where their buddies are:
“”As we build these platforms for people to connect, we find that context is very important,” said Marcien Jenckes, who heads the AIM business. Jenckes said that when deciding whether to contact someone via phone, e-mail or IM, “people think through what’s the right mechanism. It might depend on how much time I have to talk or how involved I want to be in the conversation or what I’m doing. Proximity or location is another one of those factors that will play an increasing role.”
I really believe in communicating contextual information such as presence, mood, activities and location to the outside world via these kind of social media to improve communication between people. I use it all the time through personal messages in my IM clients, my Last.fm widget on the right-hand side of this blog and through Plazes.
Which leads me to the thought that the same Plazes – funded by business angels such as Esther Dyson, Marc Andreessen and Martin Varsavsky – might be an interesting take-over for AOL if they want a head start by acquiring a database of IP-addresses that are already mapped.