The Mobile is a Virtual Mouse

Pasta and Vinegar points¬†to an IHT¬†story about a new service in Japan¬†which allows you to¬†point a mobile phone to a physical object and get taken to digital information about it, whether it be an historical monument or a restaurant detailing previous diners’ reviews.

We’ve been predicting this for some time now, so it’s interesting to see this in the wild, as a working solution. It uses a highly accurate version of GPS, combined with a compass and is a collaborative effort of 4 Japanese companies and an American one.

Of course, many practical problems remain. How do you populate the data in the first place, so there’s something to tell the user when they click on the object? And how do you “police” the accuracy if the data – what’s to stop a restranteur, for instance, writing their own reviews?

I suggested that this would best be achieved by a Wikipedia-style user generated content and policing collaboration, but there may be other options to launch a geographically limited solution, as a mashup between local information services, restaurant guides and maps.

The article suggests that it’ll eventually be a paid-for model (the trial is free) and that some 200,000 customers will sign up within 12 months. This seems pretty unrealistic from where I’m sitting, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how it fares.

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