The New York Times just published a great article ("With a Cellphone as my Guide," June 28) about a new mobile service being rolled out in Japan. The benefit of this service could be tremendous for marketers as well as consumers.
We've all heard the promise of location-based marketing. For example, a future version of the mobile version of Google Maps could start by using the GPS built into most phones to display an initial map based on where you are standing at the moment. Then, when you search for sushi or an ATM, the search and related maps return hits that are ordered by how far away they happen to be right then.
Well, a new service in Japan takes this one major step forward by adding a compass. Not only will searches (as well as advertisements) appear based on your location, but also based on where you are pointing your cell phone. So, if you are in downtown Tokyo and you point your cell phone at an electronics store across the street, you will be able immediately to get information on the store as well as any coupons or advertising materials that might be relevant.
Now that is cool.