Every once in a while I try to think of new possible personal projects that would be cool to work on. Typically these are user-facing applications or subtle improvements to existing applications. I think it helps to communicate these ideas and see if any helpful readers have any feedback.
One thought that crossed my mind was geographically mapping search results. I think Google or Microsoft would be in a good position to overlay search results in their mapping programs. For example, while browsing Google Maps near University and King in Waterloo, it would be nice to see links to reviews for the various restaurants nearby or Wilfrid Laurier University’s website overlayed on the location of these restaurants and the university. It might take the introduction of some sort of geographic microdata format (e.g., latitude, longitude, street address, street name, municipality, province/state) but it would be worth it. Imagine pointing your smartphone at a restaurant and being able to instantly see a review on Yelp, considering the use of geolocation and figuring out the direction the phone is pointed in to approximate what the phone is pointing at, I think this could be feasible within a few years.
As well, I had an idea for a distributed white-board web application. After talking about it with a friend of mine, Gary Bershadsky, he came up refining it even further down to the idea of a digital scratch pad. For example, someone could use this app while talking on the phone with someone or instant messaging someone to communicate what they are saying more visually. This would be similar to other desktop sharing applications on the market except more than one participant could change something on the scratch pad and all participants could instantly see the change. As well, version control, authorship, and timestamping changes could be used for greater auditability. I think with the growing use of mobile devices along with support for canvas in modern web browsers, this is probably feasible now.