Hewlett-Packard won't be mistaken for a bastion of cutting-edge Web 2.0 applications, but researchers at HP Labs are working to change that position.
HP's Social Computing Lab is working on Gloe, an application that lets users search for, bookmark and tag pages that are relevant to their location. Users may filter these tagged Web pages by friends' recommendations, popularity, distance or even category.
For example, Gloe users can import their Facebook friends and filter on a query-by-query basis to see what they have to say about a location.
Users may add new locally relevant Web pages to Gloe and automate Gloe searches by subscribing to feeds. People may also create polls and vote in a poll tagged with a particular location.
Gloe is available as a mobile application for Android and BlackBerry smartphones and as a cloud-based application, making use of tagged Web content from Google, Wikipedia, Yelp and other Web sources.
"The key thing here is we power the information by the crowd, so we let anyone who uses the service go in and add recommendations and associate Web pages with locations," HP Labs Researcher Thomas Sandholm told eWEEK in a recent interview.
Sandholm said after looking at other recommendation and rating services he and his team realized there is a low ratio of people rating and recommending content. Gloe aims to make it easier for people to provide their opinions in a Web-based system.
This is interesting stuff for Web 2.0 geeks, but certainly not the type of application industry watchers associate with HP.
Sandholm said while plans to transfer Gloe to technological assets within HP are nascent, he and his team have been working with HP's printer group on integrating Gloe with ePrint, which lets users print from any mobile device. The idea is to let Gloe augment ePrint by telling ePrint users about the best printer services around them in an office. This would supplement the traditional print directory listings.
With HP acquiring Palm, Gloe could eventually become a native application on Palm smartphones or even tablet computers.
Gloe is built on top of a distributed database framework using open-source tools such as MySQL and Hadoop. HP is intent on getting developers in the mix for Gloe, too, offering an open API to let programmers write Gloe services for all kinds of mobile applications and Web-based platforms.
Currently, there are a few applications in Google's Android Market that use Gloe, including local polling service Geo Poll, fan club service Geo Fan and voice recorder Geo Sound.