MS’s MasterMapping SenseWeb Plan

MIT’s Technology Review has an unusual article titled “Microsoft’s Plan to Map the World in Real Time” (Link). Some interesting bits in the piece but I’m not entirely sure what’s new here. From the article:

What makes Microsoft’s experimental project different from others that track information, Nath says, is that it would allow people to search for different types of real-time data within a user-specified area on a map, and progressively narrow that search.

I always assumed this was the endgame; what Google was chasing as well as part of their mesh network location-targeted advertising. The first and best thing to sense are users, and Google’s system would do that through wireless devices like cell phones. This data could be overlaid on what should already be known: locations and supplemental information coming from real world merchants (this doesn’t require wireless; just more information updated automatically – like linking a restaurant’s reservation system into the network). What’s discussed in the article, “SenseWeb”, is more comprehensive than what it appears Google is doing at the moment, but sounds more innovative than I think it is, and sounds to me like Microsoft is really just giving ubicomp a name they can trademark. That makes sense. An article like this on the Technology Review doesn’t.

For now, though, SenseWeb and Live Local are separate projects, according to Nath. The Live Local team “really loves this technology,” he says, but right now “what’s missing is the actual data.”

Yeah. I guess that would help.