Social mobile location startup Rummble has added the ability for members to ‘check-in’ and recommend places via Twitter, rather than having to use the company’s Android or iPhone app or browser-based version.
It does this through a bit of nifty but fairly crude sentiment analysis, turning any tweet with the hashtag #rummble into something the service will understand. So, for example “Hanging out in Joes Cafe, 9th Ave, NYC. Great coffee and free wifi. 7/10 #rummble” would be interpreted as a check-in to Joes Cafe, giving it a Rummble of 7/10 noting the “great coffee and free wifi”
Obviously, the more information you can cram into 140 characters using trigger words such as “hanging out” or “just arrived”, along with the bare facts, the more accurate Rummble’s sentiment analysis will be. And, as noted, you’ll need to remember to include that #rummble hash tag.
It’s been a busy time for the startup. At last week’s South by Southwest Interactive, the company unveiled an improved Rummble friends list for their iPhone and Android apps which lets users see not only the updates of their Rummble friends but also people they’re following on Twitter and other location-based services such as Brightkite, Gowalla and Foursquare .
But if location-based services like Rummble are to become more useful and embedded into our daily lives, they’ll arguably need to become more passive, needing less and less intervention on the user’s part. I’m not sure that turning or rather interpreting a tweet as a piece of location-based data or ‘action’ should require the use of a specific hash tag at all.
Would it not make more sense to give users the option, once they’ve chosen to link their Twitter and Rummble accounts, to let the service interpret any tweet as a potential ‘check-in’ and review?
Although, maybe it’s here where the non-trivial nature of 140-character driven sentiment analysis needs a helping hand. “Computers reading natural language is always tricky; computers reading 140 characters is even trickier”, says Rummble on the company’s blog.
“Living in a world with many different social location-based services to choose from should make it easier to know where all of your friends are located, but people often miss out on the action because there are a number of places to check out friend’s check-ins and location chatter. Rummble’s answer to this problem is to tell you where your friends are located, regardless of where that information was created.”
That makes a lot of sense to us.