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Hello everyone. Very busy week here and more good news! I have been asked about the future of Foller.me by many friends from Twitter and e-mail and IM, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here in public.
Foller.me is going quite good although there are a couple of bugs and issues that haven’t been solved yet, but we’re working on it very hard. The future? Well, that’s actually unpredictable, really. I’ll explain. We work out the areas that you (the end-users) want us to, and that is why your feedback is very important and it basically defines what we will be doing next. Yes, there are loads of comments and suggestions from inside the developers team, but we’re really looking forward to making a Twitter service that you people would use, and that’s our main goal.
Now today I’d like to give you a tiny little insight on what’s coming up next on Foller.me. We call it Followers Geography. Ever wondered where your followers are from? Or perhaps you wonder where your followers’ followers are from? Yes, there’s a location field in Twitter profiles which most people fill out quite good. Combining Google Geocoding and Google Maps, we’ve managed to scan through your followers’ locations and point them out on a map. Oh, and it also shows the current profile’s location (we totally forgot about that at first, hehe).
There are a few restrictions here, and the main one is definitely Google Maps API. Google allows around 15,000 API queries every day (while Twitter provides us with 20,000 every hour!) AND restrict their bulkness – there should be a 200-300 ms interval between each API call. So, generally you would have to wait for around 5 minutes to digest a profile with a thousand followers, and that’s where we came up with our great caching mechanism. The API calls are not made from within your browser. They run on a time-based (cron) job from our server to geocode new locations. Yes, it still takes a while to digest everyone, but you don’t get to see the delay and that’s the bright part of it!
The public beta of Followers Geography is planned to be released by the end of next week. It’s going to be a new section below the three tag clouds and will be a small part of the huge “Followers” section in the future. If anybody would like to take a look at the living version post your requests into the comments, and I’ll provide you with an address, username and password by e-mail in exchange for good feedback ;)
That’s it for now. So how d’u guys like the idea? Anything else you’d like to see on that map?