(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
Through a work colleague of mine I have been checking out lately one interesting free offering that gives a true new meaning to the expression Location Awareness. It is called Plazes and if you are into social / groupware software then you must take a look into it because it puts together some really interesting concepts. First interesting option is that Plazes uses the local network you are connected to as your location reference. Then you can share that location with other folks you may know or get to know about some other people and expand on your virtual network, not only from locations next to yours but all over the place.
At the same time that it puts together that location awareness option it has got a lovely integration with already existing tools like Skype, Flickr, Google Maps and Multimap. So as you can see there are multiple layers you can use in order to stay connected with other folks.
It will even allow you to find out if there may be other folks closer to you based on your location, so you can find Plazes within 2, 5, 25 or 50 KMs., which is ideal if you are new to a particular place and would like to meet up some other people. And before you do that you may get a chance to find out some more about them with Plazes. I guess here in Spain it will still have to pick up a bit because if you perform a search over there it would only come up with a handful of people and not very close to my location, to say the least.
Finally, one other key interesting factor that could make Plazes pretty popular in a very short time is the fact that it allows you to discover Plazes on your own. This means that if you are a regular traveller you get to discover different places that you can add to your profile. Or, even better, you can perform searches looking for specific places based on the Kind of Plaze query. Say, for instance, you are travelling to the UK and would want to find out if there are any WiFi zones available free of charge, then you can get Plazes to fire up a search, look for the criteria and right away you find out that there are six different locations that match that criteria (Just checked).
Overall, I like it quite a lot. It is certainly a very innovative way of putting together all sorts of different social networking tools along with the location awareness feature, that not many offerings have got at the moment. And all that as a free offering. Really nice ! There are some more options and features to explore but you will get to see those in the elsua template over the next few days. For the time being go and get your Plaze and hope to see you there !