I just read an article in BusinessWeek about how in Japan they have a GPS-enabled system called “Otetsudai” where they track down available job hunters within a certain vicinity for temp-hiring with jobs that need workers as soon as possible.
Basically, job seekers use their cellphones and log onto the Otetsudai website to indicate their availability at a given time. This in turn sends out a signal to the GPS servers about the availability of workers in a given area.
This sounds like a really great program and I kind of wish the US was advanced enough with mobile Internet right now to have a similar program. I know sometimes I am out just wandering San Francisco but I would be willing to work at any moment. It’d be nice to be on-call like that, especially if I know I have the time to spare. Too bad mobile Internet browsing is still rather limited due to service providers charging the service to customers. Not enough people really do mobile browsing here as compared in Japan, where it has been around forever. Plus, so far it seems like a lot of phones here in the US are not yet GPS-capable, which is another big difference between US and Japanese phones.
I remember when I was in Japan a few years ago for studying abroad, I got a cellphone with au KDDI. I didn’t really know how to use my phone, but then one of my Japanese friends showed me how we could use GPS on my phone for free. Now, remember, this was two years ago. Two years ago, here in the US, GPS was only really becoming known by most consumers. Even then, I don’t think GPS was available on cellphones just yet.
My oh my, the Japanese continue to amaze me.