Nearby in the Google+ mobile App - Now includes posts "about" your location

The "Nearby Stream", which is a special stream viewable on the Google+ mobile App, has up until now only featured posts geo-tagged and published physically near the location you are viewing the nearby stream from. That has now changed.

I was a big fan of the old version of "nearby" on Google+. It has been a way to see public content from people I'm not following.
I would generally dip into "nearby" once or twice a day to see what was going on.

So seeing Reg Saddler's post at the top of my nearby stream (in Cologne Germany) was somewhat of a surprise.

The post (pictured) has no geo-tagging at all and was almost certainly posted on desktop. No geo-location information either for the post, or the attached image.

So what's it doing in nearby? 


The post is an image of Cologne, and mentions Cologne and the name of the bridge in the post text. So Google understands that it's a post about Cologne and has showed it in the nearby stream for me when I was located in Cologne.

This is a pretty massive change and could have lots of implications for anyone wanting to reach an audience at specific locations.

Here's an example of a mobile post with geo-location, which are what the nearby stream used to rely on.

I've underlined in red the location of the person viewing the nearby stream (me).

I've circled in red. The location the post was made from.

Previously all posts that showed in the nearby stream used these two points of reference. The location of the viewer, which the App retrieves when you open the nearby stream and the location attached to posts, which are served to the user.

Events, at a location and posts posted from a nearby place would also show.
Now that has all changed and Google will also serve posts about nearby.

How does Google know when a post is about a place or location? 

Google maybe using the knowledge graph to determine when to serve desktop posts to mobile users in the nearby stream. I've made one text only test, which friends in London have told me they couldn't find in their nearby stream.
It's not clear to me how this change might be woven into any posting process at the moment. Need to run some tests, which is a little difficult without an army of people in different locations.

Still I thought this was an interesting observation, worth sharing.

Now, go and take a look in your nearby stream ..... what do you see? 

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