Twitter’s new geolocation support was supposed to launch for developers at today’s Twitter Conference in LA (which I’m attending), but it wasn’t quite ready yet. Still, Twitter’s platform lead Ryan Sarver announced several details about how it will work, at least initially, in a developer session. In quickly-jotted bullet points:
- Twitter will soon be able to store location data–that is, latitude and longitude coordinates–on a per-tweet basis, and for your user profile.
- Including location information in your tweets will be opt-in only. You will have to visit your Twitter account’s settings page on the web site to allow Twitter to store that data. It will not be enabled by default. Even if your Twitter client sends lat/log points along with your status update, if you didn’t explicitly opt into including that information, Twitter will drop it at the point of entry and it will not be stored or published.
- Users won’t see any new features on the Twitter web site when geo launches except for the settings page where you opt in. Twitter is giving API developers a head start to display and transmit geo data in tweets in their apps first.
- In practice, expect to see your Twitter client include a checkbox below the posting area labeled something like “include my location with this tweet.” If you check the box when you send a tweet but you haven’t given Twitter permission to store your location data, you’ll have to visit your settings page on the web site to do so.
- Interesting: Twitter will scrub geo-data stored in tweets more than 14 days old to avoid subpoenas about a user’s location. They will outright delete the location information from their database, not just anonymize it.