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Foursquare, the leading location-based social tool, announced a major new initiative last week to expand its location database to include cross-references to corresponding venue listings from other services. As characterized in the announcement post on the company blog, the goal is to make Foursquare the missing "Rosetta Stone for location, allowing you to link information about a real-world place from one database to any other." Now it's not just about using Foursquare, but connecting it to other services.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last week ran a competition that involved identifying the location of 10 fixed red balloons throughout the United States. It was an exercise designed to see how people can self-organize on the Internet and how information disseminates through social and viral networks. It was won by MIT, taking just 9 hours to find 10 red balloons placed all over the United States.
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