Nokia & Dopplr, sitting in a tree…

by James Whatley on 5th October 2009

  Comment Icon19

K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

Ten days ago reports were coming in that Nokia had purchased the super smart online travel sharing service, Dopplr. The one liner that I dedicated to it in my last post ended with ‘apparently’. This was an addition which, at the time, made perfect sense.

Noppler?

Noppler?

You see, at the time of writing, the story itself had come from a source that TechCrunch described as ‘close to the deal’ but, no had yet come forward to confirm.

Then, one week ago, a rather short but sweet blog post appeared on Dopplr confirming the sale but not really releasing any further details on the intricacies of the deal.
However, there were some nuggets of information given away. The final paragraph in particular is key:

The acquisition does not change the current Dopplr service which is available at Dopplr.com and on platforms where Dopplr is integrated, like Flickr and Twitter. As always, if you so wish, you can get a copy of your data from your account.

See that?

First up. ‘The acquisition does not change the current Dopplr service…’. So this is good news right? Of course it is. I mean, you wouldn’t expect them to suddenly shut up shop right? All the users that currently exist aren’t going to all be poured into one large Nokia silo… are they?

The next thing to take away is the ‘…on platforms where Dopplr is integrated’ part of the sentence. Dopplr, my friends, is available on the iPhone.

But will it remain so?
According to the post from Dopplr themselves, we’re leaning towards ‘Yes’.
Time will tell.

Soon after the sale, Nokia also announced that Dopplr’s CEO, Marko Ahtissari, was to head up a new design and consumer experience unit within the Finnish HQ. Curiouser and curioser.

The big thing for me here is that as a service on it’s own Dopplr has never really proved that useful. Yes it’s fun to load in your trips on one of those dull days when there’s nothing going on on twitter and you’ve got a spare moment between emails, but has anyone here ever used it for what it is? Your ‘Social Atlas’?

Today, probably not.
But, in the future maybe? Yes. Maybe.

You see when the announcement was first made and the release landed on my desk, the first thing I instinctively said was ‘Makes perfect sense‘. Why? Well, you all remember Nokia announcing at Nokia World about their Social Location ambitions right?

You don’t? Let me remind you with the words from Nokia CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo:

“Automatically lets you avert traffic jams or crowds. By putting together your location, your contacts, you get mashups. I love this idea. Imagine what can happen when we mash up social networking and your location, when your device knows where you are, where your friends are and what they are doing. Your social location, or SoLo will become your here-and-now-identity.”

Combine that (ok admittedly rather vague) way of thinking into Ovi Maps (that’s the Ovi Maps that’s shipping on every mid-to-high-end Nokia device from now until forever by the way) which also, is now including their latest feature ‘Good Things’. You can begin to see where Nokia are going…

Good Things for those that missed it, is Nokia’s new way for Ovi Maps users to share their favourite places around the world. This is from the Nokia Conversations blog post:

It’s made up of three key elements. The first is the ability to spot Good Things on the map, where you can click on each one to find out more information, add it to a route or to your favourites. There’s also a live Good Things feed which shows the latest good things, as they’re added. And of course the key part is the ability for you to add your own Good Things. Once you’ve found where on the map you’d like to add, you just drag a Good Things pin onto the map to add it. Fill in a couple of details, walk through the security check and you’re good to go. You’ve made the mapped world a better place.

Make sense? Of course it does. User generated reviews populating your navigation. It’s all coming together nicely. Now let’s compare that to the contents of Dopplr’s about page:

Dopplr is a service for smart international travellers. Dopplr members share personal and business travel plans privately with their networks, and exchange tips on places to stay, eat and explore in cities around the world. Dopplr presents this collective intelligence – the travel patterns, tips and advice of the world’s most frequent travellers – as a Social Atlas.

What else can we add into this? Well, one of the really useful parts of Dopplr – one that I’ve been paying attention to of late, is the Carbon Calculator. Once your trips are complete, Dopplr, powered by AMEE, gives you an overview of your carbon emissions for that trip. Admittedly while there is no option currently to immediately recompense the climate for your travel, this information is handy for when you get round to doing it yourself.

It’s at this point that I’m reminded of several Nokia false start applications: Nokia viNe, Friendview and also, WE:OFFSET.

The former is a life-streaming service which was bascially a jazzed up version of Sports Tracker. Friendview, Nokia’s very own Google Latitude and of course WE:OFFSET, an application that monitors where you are and works out your emissions based on your methods of travel.

If Social Location really is the future as Nokia insist (and I’m leaning towards agreeing with them), what other mobile applications/services/experiments can they bring into the mix to really spice things up?

Your thoughts and comments as always, are welcome.

  • Pingback: Nokia & Dopplr, sitting in a tree… | My Reviews

  • ocifant

    While this all sounds very exciting and futuristic, I just can’t get any enthusiasm up for this. Why?

    Have you ever tried to use a mobile, any mobile, with GPS switched on for any length of time? Creating the software and expounding the possibilities is all very well, but until there’s an energy supply (battery) that allows use of the software and technology, possibilities is all we’re left with.

    (not to mention people’s innate distrust of a system that has the potential to broadcast their real-time location information – which has been discussed elsewhere on the web)

  • http://tripleodeon.com/ James Pearce

    They should have bought TripAdvisor (or they should as well). It’s a bit old school, but would make for a far more awesome integration – and there’s much more data.

    I’m not sure what the attraction of ’boutique’ was to a company like Nokia with hundreds of millions of customers. They need to get a few more things sorted out before their reinvention makes any sense for most of the world’s population.

    • http://ymb.jaiku.com Mike Bradshaw

      Yes, TripAdvisor seems to make more sense initally, but I don’t see Nokia buying a company for a recommendation DB (which is basically all I can see TripAdvisor having).

      With Dopplr they got;
      – a team who *grok* web2.0
      – an existing user base of “high end”(?) international travellers (ok, some might leave)
      – a better starting point to continue on the work of things like ViNE, SportsTracker, FriendView, WE:OFFSET
      – ‘Good Things’ matches relativley closely with the Social Atlas that Dopplr was starting to build
      – a start into offering something on the Apple App Store (Nokia becomes more of a Services Company?)

      • http://tripleodeon.com/ James Pearce

        Sure. But thoughtful, wealthy Nokia, in it for the long term, needs to think bigger then piecing together trendy little ‘feature’ experiments made by smart people.

        Small-grade M&A is a good proxy for in-house R&D (and with an ex-Nokian at the helm, that was surely how they were thinking).

        But Dopplr furnishes a highly rarified tech/telecoms social clique. Just seemed ill-aligned to me for one of the biggest mass-market brands on the planet.

  • ocifant

    While this all sounds very exciting and futuristic, I just can't get any enthusiasm up for this. Why?Have you ever tried to use a mobile, any mobile, with GPS switched on for any length of time? Creating the software and expounding the possibilities is all very well, but until there's an energy supply (battery) that allows use of the software and technology, possibilities is all we're left with. (not to mention people's innate distrust of a system that has the potential to broadcast their real-time location information – which has been discussed elsewhere on the web)

  • ocifant

    While this all sounds very exciting and futuristic, I just can't get any enthusiasm up for this. Why?

    Have you ever tried to use a mobile, any mobile, with GPS switched on for any length of time? Creating the software and expounding the possibilities is all very well, but until there's an energy supply (battery) that allows use of the software and technology, possibilities is all we're left with.

    (not to mention people's innate distrust of a system that has the potential to broadcast their real-time location information – which has been discussed elsewhere on the web)

  • http://tripleodeon.com jamesgpearce

    They should have bought TripAdvisor (or they should as well). It's a bit old school, but would make for a far more awesome integration – and there's much more data.I'm not sure what the attraction of 'boutique' was to a company like Nokia with hundreds of millions of customers. They need to get a few more things sorted out before their reinvention makes any sense for most of the world's population.

  • http://tripleodeon.com jamesgpearce

    They should have bought TripAdvisor (or they should as well). It's a bit old school, but would make for a far more awesome integration – and there's much more data.

    I'm not sure what the attraction of 'boutique' was to a company like Nokia with hundreds of millions of customers. They need to get a few more things sorted out before their reinvention makes any sense for most of the world's population.

  • http://ymb.jaiku.com Mike Bradshaw

    Yes, TripAdvisor seems to make more sense initally, but I don't see Nokia buying a company for a recommendation DB (which is basically all I can see TripAdvisor having).With Dopplr they got; – a team who *grok* web2.0 – an existing user base of “high end”(?) international travellers (ok, some might leave) – a better starting point to continue on the work of things like ViNE, SportsTracker, FriendView, WE:OFFSET – ‘Good Things’ matches relativley closely with the Social Atlas that Dopplr was starting to build – a start into offering something on the Apple App Store (Nokia becomes more of a Services Company?)

  • http://ymb.jaiku.com Mike Bradshaw

    Yes, TripAdvisor seems to make more sense initally, but I don't see Nokia buying a company for a recommendation DB (which is basically all I can see TripAdvisor having).

    With Dopplr they got;
    – a team who *grok* web2.0
    – an existing user base of “high end”(?) international travellers (ok, some might leave)
    – a better starting point to continue on the work of things like ViNE, SportsTracker, FriendView, WE:OFFSET
    – ‘Good Things’ matches relativley closely with the Social Atlas that Dopplr was starting to build
    – a start into offering something on the Apple App Store (Nokia becomes more of a Services Company?)

  • http://tripleodeon.com jamesgpearce

    Sure. But thoughtful, wealthy Nokia, in it for the long term, needs to think bigger then piecing together trendy little 'feature' experiments made by smart people.Small-grade M&A is a good proxy for in-house R&D (and with an ex-Nokian at the helm, that was surely how they were thinking).But Dopplr furnishes a highly rarified tech/telecoms social clique. Just seemed ill-aligned to me for one of the biggest mass-market brands on the planet.

  • http://tripleodeon.com jamesgpearce

    Sure. But thoughtful, wealthy Nokia, in it for the long term, needs to think bigger then piecing together trendy little 'feature' experiments made by smart people.

    Small-grade M&A is a good proxy for in-house R&D (and with an ex-Nokian at the helm, that was surely how they were thinking).

    But Dopplr furnishes a highly rarified tech/telecoms social clique. Just seemed ill-aligned to me for one of the biggest mass-market brands on the planet.

  • http://whatleydude.com James Whatley

    It’s interesting to note that Nokia have recently announced ‘Ovi Journeys’ which is being pitched as the next evolution of Sports Tracker/Nokia viNe.

    Whether the Dopplr engine will play a role in this new app in the future remains to be seen but still, worth an update at least.

  • http://whatleydude.com James Whatley

    It's interesting to note that Nokia have recently announced 'Ovi Journeys' which is being pitched as the next evolution of Sports Tracker/Nokia viNe.Whether the Dopplr engine will play a role in this new app in the future remains to be seen but still, worth an update at least.

  • http://whatleydude.com James Whatley

    It's interesting to note that Nokia have recently announced 'Ovi Journeys' which is being pitched as the next evolution of Sports Tracker/Nokia viNe.

    Whether the Dopplr engine will play a role in this new app in the future remains to be seen but still, worth an update at least.

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