Now that Twitter has turned on its Geolocation API we’re likely to see all sort of exciting new web services come to the fore.
GeoMeme is one of the first. Although it’s been around for a while it’s recently started searching geolocation in tweets in addition to the location entered on users’ profiles.
The idea with GeoMeme is that you can see where different Twitter trends are most popular. Unlike competing service TrendsMap, GeoMeme allows you to quickly and easily get down to street level and see exactly who is contributing to a certain trend – and exactly where they tweeted from.
The focus of GeoMeme is comparing two trends to see which is most popular in any particular area. So, you could see whether “Facebook” or “Twitter” is more popular in Silicon Valley, or whether “Pigeons” or “Jellied Eels” are more tweeted about in London. Despite the news stories this weekend, more Twitter users are interested in Christmas than they are in troubled golfer Tiger Woods.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to city level – the service uses the area currently showing on the map as its search area. Searching the world or your local neighbourhood is just as easy by zooming in and out.
GeoMeme shows just how useful location data can be in measuring public opinion. Being able to look at a specific area makes this a powerful tool, especially during events like political elections or major disasters.
The power of GeoMeme is compromised at present because not many Twitter clients support location sharing; not to mention the fact that many people don’t want to share their location publicly via Twitter. Until these problems are overcome (and they will be, give it a few years for the practice to mature and virtually everyone will happily share their location), tools like GeoMeme will be little more than a ‘dipstick’ into public opinion.
Still, give it a go and find out more about the mood of Twitter users in your neighbourhood. If you’re interested in how GeoMeme works, see this post on the Google Geo Developers Bog.