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Where's that tweet? Twitter set to add location data

Ever wanted to see what people around you are tweeting about? Soon you can: Twitter is set to add location information to the metadata of each tweet

Where's Wally? Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Where's me jumper? Where is my mind? And more importantly, where was that tweet posted? Soon we'll be able to answer at least one of those questions, as Twitter is adding location data to each tweet.

Twitter founder Biz Stone has written a blog post in which he outlines the plans for a geolocation API. The feature will be opt-in and location data will only be stored for a limited time.

Stone highights the possibilities for geolocation as an enhancement to Twitter's growing role as a first source for breaking news stories. People tweeting from the scene of disasters or other events will be able to include their location in their tweet. With this information, you'll be able to switch from the feed of people you follow to a feed showing tweets from people around you.

Each tweet's metadata already includes conversation information, and will soon add retweet information. With the geolocation API, latitude and longitude can also be added.

Having tried out location-aware client Tweetmondo on augmented-reality platform Layar earlier this week, we can see the potential. We have visions of going to a concert or party, holding up our phone, and seeing a sea of tweets bobbing over the heads of the crowd. Whether we'd go and talk to them or just hit them up with an @reply is another matter.

Another interesting application would be to pin a tweet to a location. Say if you wanted to tell the world how great the Friday lasagna from Frank's is, you'd pin the tweet to the caff's location. However, because the information will be part of the tweet's metadata, and read by applications via the API, it doesn't seem likely that users will have any control over the location data.

Our esteemed -- and ostentatiously goateed -- colonial colleague Rafe Needleman considers how this development may change Twitter over at CNET News. Of course, it all comes down to how precise the positioning is. In the meantime, existing third-party location-aware clients include Foursquare and Tweetie.