Back in May BBC showed off Olinda - a quirky internet radio prototype that tells your friends what you are listening to and allows you to tune in to what they are enjoying. People have been using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other sites to post updates to tell their friends what they are doing. Last.fm shows what music people are listening to - so why not have something to tell people what radio programmes they are listening to now?
Well - I'm not sure that it is very interesting! But then I wasn't convinced by the facility in Facebook etc. Knowing that Harry has missed the bus may well be important to his employer who was expecting in on time for once or his girlfriend who faces missing the start of the film again but is it really more than a gimmick? If Twitter cannot sustain the cost of sending SMS in Europe will users pay for it?
However, I can see that aggregated information about listening habits could be useful, especially to advertisers, commissioning editors or public service broadcasters wanting their charter renewed - but I doubt that many people will switch over to listen to a programme that they had forgotten about because some of their friends are.
But - now with RadioPOP going live - http://www.radiopop.co.uk - it does mean that there will be data collected and published in full colour.
Right now it is not directly linked to the popular BBC iPlayer - and only provides live streaming (not Listen Again) but it will be interesting to see how much use it gets.
At least two suppliers of the technology underlying many internet radios are based in the UK - and provide access to the BBC live and Listen Again programming. If they add support for this as well then it will give it an extra boost. However, once it gets into BBC iPlayer then the figures really will make interesting reading.