Why Verizon Makes You Turn on GPS for NFL Mobile: So They Can Market the Data

In using the excellent (if sometimes buggy) NFL Mobile app this football season, I did notice one new annoying thing: The app requires you to turn on location services before it lets you watch games, a relationship I struggled to understand since there is no geographic blackout or anything else rights-related with the games that are carried by the app.

Turns out, the reason for the link is that Verizon is selling the aggregate data they get from mining their audience’s locations, a topic Verizon discusses in depth with Fierce Wireless. Though the security aspects of having my phone company aggressively marketing my location data doesn’t bother me that much (having to turn on and off the GPS is a bigger pain to me), Karl Bode over at DSL Reports smartly points out that the promises of big carriers like Verizon don’t really mean that much because the companies regularly assist the government when asked for cell phone data.

I get it that Verizon wants to monetize its services more, but worry that heavy handed continued data mining like the NFL Mobile app experience tilts too far in favor of the big paying customer (here the NFL) over the small paying customer, the average fan. Compared on a one-to-one basis, there’s no way to equate the worries of one person who doesn’t like to turn on GPS services (drains the battery!) to the needs or paying desires of a client like the NFL. But in the long run such unbalanced focus will lead to nobody using such apps if they are loaded with hoops you have to jump through simply to let Verizon earn more bucks.

Callaway Readies Re-Launch of GPS Golf Course Device, and Golf Social Media Site

After an initial launch that was scrubbed due to technical glitches, golf manufacturer Callaway is readying a May 30 debut of its Upro MX+ GPS course-guide device, as well as a revamped social media site where golfers can trade reviews, scores and conversation about golf courses the world over.

We haven’t had a chance to play with the Upro MX+ yet, but the $249 device looks like it could be an instant contender in the course-info-device marketplace. Here’s the promo blurb from the Callaway website, which also has some other details about the device’s ability to basically tell you where you’re at and how far it is to the green, no matter where you are playing since it comes pre-loaded with info on some 25,000 courses. Ah, the wonders of memory!

ProMode provides a realistic view of the course using actual aerial photography (not renderings) with precise yardage to hazards and key points selected using AnyPoint Technology. In this mode you can pan the entire hole with the swipe of a finger and zoom in and out to see more or less detail, allowing you to make better decisions and play with confidence.

What’s even more potentially interesting than the device itself is Callaway’s Uexplore site, which has been on-again off-again with the hiccup in the Upro launch. What Uexplore is designed to do is allow golfers to record scores and reviews of courses, with the idea that such user-generated content could mushroom into a big conversation about golf with Callaway at the middle. Of course, this idea has been somewhat of the Holy Grail for the golf business roughly since about the invention of the browser. The innerwebs, unfortunately, are filled with ghost towns of “user course reviews” that never got off the ground for probably the simple reason being that most people don’t really want to sit down and write about their rounds after they’re done.

But if the Upro offers golfers an easy way to track scores while they play and then lets them upload the info directly to the site, it could be the potential solution to tapping into the great wealth of knowledge currently locked into golfers’ minds. More as we hear more from Callaway, which we are betting we will with the U.S. Open coming up soon.