Google's focus on contextual apps

Almost a month ago I wrote an article about Apple's acquisition of WiFiSLAM, claiming that Apple's focus was "about apps, not maps."  My point was that an increasing number of apps, even without ever showing maps on the screen, need to know the current location in order to carry out their services.  Examples include being notified when a friend is nearby, finding items in nearby stores, being notified in an airport if your flight is boarding when you're in the bookstore, and much more.

Three weeks later, Google made exactly the same point, at the Google I/O conference.  The technical leads of the Google Location team introduced a class of mobile applications that they called "contextual apps," which carry out tasks based on the user's current situation or activity, which is often based on location.

Throughout Grizzly Analytics in-depth analysis of the indoor location area, we see uses of indoor location positioning that are not for maps but rather for applications to reason about location. Contextual apps that use indoor location are coming soon.  It's good to see Google reiterating the point.

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