Cellphones as Friend Radars
For some time now, there's been a lot of buzz around the possibilities for location-based services on cellphones. Sure, it can help a rescue squad find you if you're lost in the woods, and it can help you navigate your way through a strange city. But to many, the coolest part of the service is that it lets you follow your friends wherever they go.
Several analysts have told me that location-based services is the missing link for mobile social networks. Once a GPS-enabled phone hooks up with a buddy list, some of the mobile social networks, which haven't quite taken off yet, could gain some serious speed.
Maybe today's announcement that Verizon Wireless has partnered with Loopt will help boost that idea. Loopt is a mobile social network that lets people share location information, status messages and geo-tagged photos with their friends. Until now, Loopt has been available on Sprint Nextel's network, as well as the carrier's Boost Mobile brand. The partnership with Verizon Wireless will certainly make Loopt available to a much broader audience.
Services like Loopt essentially try to turn cellphones into friend radars, alerting you when you happen to be a few blocks away from a friend or helping you plan get-togethers, for instance. More and more phones these days are capable of tracking location, which raises a key question: How many cellphone users want their whereabouts shared with their friends?
That will be a tricky balance. Loopt said it gives users plenty of privacy controls.
Last month I spoke with Christine Perey, an independent analyst who follows the social networking space, and she said she predicts location-based features to be a hit on mobile networks.
"We like contextually sensitive messages, and location is a big element of context," she said. "It's one that's virtually non-existent in Web communities and relatively easy in mobile ones."
Dodgeball, which was acquired by Google, also tried to make a go of friend-finding capabilities. But it didn't seem to resonate with users. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time--maybe people are more apt to use such a feature now that they're more comfortable with mobile devices and social networks in general.
Starting in April, Verizon Wireless customer will pay $4 for access to Loopt.
Would you be OK with your friends knowing your whereabouts? Would you find this service useful?
Get This Widget >>
Blogs That Reference This Entry
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cellphones as Friend Radars:
Tracked on June 6, 2008 7:52 AM
Tracked on July 3, 2008 2:49 PM
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: GoSkins | March 29, 2008 4:40 PM
Posted by: BRUCEREALTOR | March 30, 2008 6:03 AM
Posted by: BRUCEREALTOR | March 30, 2008 6:16 AM
Posted by: Angry Liberaltarian | March 30, 2008 9:28 AM
Posted by: Alan | March 30, 2008 10:56 AM
Posted by: Shamus | March 30, 2008 11:56 AM
Posted by: Jamal | March 30, 2008 12:32 PM
Posted by: Captain John | March 30, 2008 2:05 PM
Posted by: maybe, maybe not | March 30, 2008 6:25 PM
Posted by: Captain John | March 30, 2008 9:54 PM
Posted by: BRUCEREALTOR | March 31, 2008 12:50 AM
Posted by: BRUCEREALTOR | March 31, 2008 1:28 AM
Posted by: maybe, maybe not | March 31, 2008 6:25 AM
Posted by: Ben | March 31, 2008 9:22 AM
Posted by: Fearless Fool | March 31, 2008 10:01 AM
Posted by: Sasquatch | March 31, 2008 11:38 AM
Posted by: DanRowvell | March 31, 2008 11:38 AM
Posted by: Rptrcub | March 31, 2008 12:01 PM
Posted by: Bleu | March 31, 2008 12:43 PM
Posted by: also fearless | March 31, 2008 1:15 PM
Posted by: Sofia | March 31, 2008 2:07 PM
Posted by: Trevor | April 29, 2008 3:36 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.