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Sina Weibo Launches Location Platform ‘Weibo Places’

My location....or not.

In a move that, in retrospect, we’re surprised didn’t happen way sooner, Sina Weibo launched a new location service today. It’s called Weibo Places and it collects anything you’ve posted to Weibo with a Geotag, arranging your posts into a neat timeline with maps of each location. It also allows you to check in at specific locations, or search for new places to visit (which you can then mark as ‘want to visit’).

This is what the "place" page for a Tiananmen bus stop looks like.

As is evident in the first image at the top of this article, the web app can’t locate you with any more accuracy than which city you’re in; since I live in Beijing, it’s telling me I’m smack dab in the center of the city at Tiananmen Square, which isn’t at all true. But if I try to check in via the web, it seems I can only select the listed places near that area, meaning that even if I wanted to check in from where I actually am, I couldn’t do it unless I was using a mobile phone with GPS.

But it seems Sina expects most users to be checking in via mobile apps anyway. In addition to the web app, Weibo Places is also compatible with a bunch of third-party mobile apps. Of course, it also works with any posts or photos you might add location data to in any of the official Sina Weibo mobile apps.

You can also see the locations of anyone you’re following, although of couse that’s only if they opted to add the location when they made the post to begin with. Thankfully, it doesn’t share your location with anyone unless you’ve already chosen to share it.

Anyway, this is a new service and we’re still figuring out the details. So, it appears, is Sina; as I was fooling around with the web app this afternoon I ran across a couple of strange errors: maps not loading properly, popup menus disappearing, etc. It could just be my connection, but I’m guessing that with a product this new, there are still a few bugs in the system. In the meantime, if you want to check it out and see what locations you’ve shared over the years or find out what third party apps are compatible, the site is at place.weibo.com.

Here's the personal map/timeline page. I've only got one place in my timeline because I generally don't like to share my location.

[TechWeb via Sina Tech]



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