With geographically focused web applications like Google Local and Foursquare on the rise, the latest internet craze has been in discovering our immediate surroundings using mobile technology. That other long standing guilty pleasure, celebrity gossip, is the latest web genre to be taken into the mobile fold. Using the free website JustSpotted, fans and followers will be able to track the geographical location of their favourite actors, musicians and other celeb never-do-wells.
Much like the check-in function on social media application Foursquare, or the local business results available from Google Local and Google Earth, JustSpotted uses a map of the world to mark up to the minute celebrity goings-on. The clever new site has even integrated a web crawling device that scans the Twitter posts of famous users to determine their current geographical whereabouts. As the technology behind the site becomes more advanced, it may even be used to track celebrity movements. Representatives for the site suggest that other popular social media applications will be used to generate information in the future.
Fortunately for celebs featured on the site, updates are not current enough to draw hoards of paparazzi and adoring crowds to their present location, and the site’s creator suggested that JustSpotted is more about allowing fans to feel “psychologically close” to their favourite celebrities. Because the site does not track celebrities’ geographical locations in real time, the information is more or less harmless in terms of any real security threats. Nonetheless concerns over invasion of privacy have already been raised, and accusations levelled at the fledgling website.
When a similar website was launched in 2006, members of the Hollywood community actively undermined the site, having their publicists submit blatantly inaccurate information about their whereabouts. The platform of JustSpotted, almost identical to that of Google Maps, makes the project seem far more light-hearted and potentially innocuous. Akin to something like a ticker tape or livewire, visitors are given a kind of global celebrity tour, zooming in on various world cities to see pictures and sighting times of various international stars. It remains to be seen, however, whether the celebrities will view it in the same light-hearted manner.