HP Labs GLOE -geo-tagging Experiment
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May 20, 2010
With web surfing on mobile devices climbing at an alarming rate, there is a need for a quick, easy way
to sort locally relevant content from the mountain of online data. To address this need HP is dipping its
toes in the geo-tagging waters with Gloe – a concept service that allows users to find, recommend and
contribute locally relevant web content on mobile devices.
Developed by HP Labs, Gloe is a cloud service that allows billions of web pages to be tagged with
location data to make them easier to find for mobile users. The service’s software engine adds
geographic relevance to web pages and parses this geographic metadata to automatically sort web
content and make it relevant and useful.
In addition to geographic relevance, the HP Gloe app allows users to filter pages by friend’s
recommendations, popularity, distance or category. Friend’s recommendations can be filtered via the
service’s Facebook Connect integration, while filter categories include music, sports, tourist attractions,
Users can also tag new web pages that are relevant to a certain location, create or view a poll tagged to
a particular location, or create a new web page tagged to a particular location like a “virtual post-it
The app determines a user’s location using their devices’ GPS, IP address, or through manually typing
in a location. It will then list areas of interest and tie these to recommendations or online content. This
could include the official website of the establishment or review websites such as TripAdvisor.
Gloe is built on top of a distributed database framework using open-source tools including MySQL and
Hadoop. So far the Gloe database includes pre-populated content from Wikipedia and some review and
photo sharing sites.
The HP Gloe app currently runs on Blackberry and mobile devices running Android 1.5+, with an
experimental HTML only version of the service that runs on any mobile device with a HTML web
browser also available. Additionally, HP has also made an open API available to facilitate the
development of third-party apps or websites integrating the Gloe database.
Although HP says Gloe is just a concept at the moment, it hopes people will check it out and
developers will build on the API to see what can be done with it. The response it receives will probably
be the deciding factor as to whether it does or doesn’t become commercialized in the future.
Already there are a few applications in Google’s Android Market that make use of the Gloe database,
including local polling service Geo Poll, fan club service Geo Fan and voice recorder Geo Sound.
Like HP Labs, we’ll be interested to see what other applications people can come up with for the