WHERE gets personal with easy-to-create custom widgets

My WHEREI’ve written before about the WHERE platform, a location-based service platform that allows developers to create custom location applications. Now just about anyone can do it, with very little technical knowledge.

You go to Google’s My Maps, plot your points and then go through a simple process to create your widget. (Behind the scenes, WHERE is using KML, which is becoming the de facto standard for identifying locations.)

I was easily able to create widgets that allow you to find the nearest Metro station in the D.C. area, the restaurants reviewed in Tom Sietsema’s 2006 Dining Guide, my own guide to my neighborhood and a list of restaurants I want to try. You can see my custom widgets in the phone at right. (The links take you to the Google My Map; if you’re a WHERE user and want a link to the widget, email me. Unfortunately, there’s not yet an easy way to publish them.)

Clarendon BallroomThe widgets even include photos. If you come across Clarendon Ballroom in my guide to Clarendon, you could pull up a picture of it on your phone, along with my review.

WHERE also supports a CSV import, so groups or people that have existing databases of content they want to use can just upload the data instead of first plotting it on a Google Map.

Right now the widgets aren’t live. For example, if I add or change information in my Clarendon guide, I have to recreate the widget. Even though that process is simple, it shouldn’t be necessary.

More on: maps, gps, Google


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
This entry was posted in google, gps, lbs, maps, mobile, mobile search, where, wireless, wireless data. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to WHERE gets personal with easy-to-create custom widgets

  1. Markus says:

    Thanks for the post about WHERE.
    If you create a KML widget that you update frequently, you might want to try to use a KML with a NetworkLink (http://code.google.com/apis/kml/documentation/kml_tags_21.html#networklink). You’d have to host your KML file with all the points and data on a server and upload a KML NetworkLink file to WHERE. WHERE then will update the linked file as specified in the NetworkLink.

  2. I tried pointing it directly at the Google My Maps URL (which is a KML file with the network link). That didn’t work.

  3. Tomsoft says:

    Hello Agrawal.

    Interesting post about this platform. The bad thing about where.com is that it’s a closed system, only available with a few US operator.

    There are others widget system under development, more open and free.

    I would be interested to discuss with you on how to port your geolocalized widgets on an alternative platform…..

  4. Markus says:

    I’d be interested to know what those other widget platforms are.
    The reason why WHERE is on Sprint only is 1) it just launched 2 months ago and 2) WHERE is a certified application. This means that as a widget developer, you get access to location information (this is locked by US operators unless your application is certified).
    And yes, WHERE will be on more operators soon.

  5. Markus says:

    Rocky, the issue with linking directly to a Google MyMaps URL is fixed and will be live in a couple hours.

  6. Pingback: Using Google Maps as a virtual notepad « reDesign

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