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Summary:

If the first five seconds of every cell phone conversation were recorded, researchers would probably find that many start with the phrase “Where are you?” Answering that question before it’s asked is the aim of a new location-based web application called sniff, which stands for Social […]

If the first five seconds of every cell phone conversation were recorded, researchers would probably find that many start with the phrase “Where are you?” Answering that question before it’s asked is the aim of a new location-based web application called sniff, which stands for Social Network Integrated Friend Finder.

A permissions-based application, sniff uses “a combination of GPS or other location technology” to let you to instantly locate your friends via one of two data sources: mobile phone or Facebook. Mobile users interact with the service by sending an SMS to sniff requesting a friend’s location; the Facebook app will “sniff out” multiple friends’ locations and display the results superimposed on a map.

According to Useful Networks, the company behind sniff, the service is very popular in Scandinavian countries. It will soon launch in both the UK and the U.S.

What about the creepy factor of being located by anyone at any time? According to Useful Networks, you have complete control over who can locate you and when. The company has built in different levels of privacy that would allow you, for example, to dictate that your co-workers can only locate you during business hours, but close friends can locate you in the evenings and on weekends.

Would you be willing to exchange location information with the people you know? Or does sniff sound too Big Brother-ish?

By Jason Harris

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  1. I’m into it. I’ve always wanted a buddy list sorted by distance from me. That way if I was having beers or wanting to go see a movie, I could see which of my friends were close to me. I don’t see any problem with it, as long as I have to allow specific people to see my location.

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  2. i think that’s the only good thing Helio had going for them… i want this feature bad on my iphone… but who’s to say google won’t get involved soon… hopefully.

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  3. I personally have some concern with Sniff, as well as other location based applications which provide my “presence” to others. Though they are permission based, I see much opportunity for abuse. This said, I agree in principle with Duane and Dan, particularly being a marketer as I think today’s teens and 20 somethings embrace this form of mobile technology as simply another form of communication.

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  4. Sounds some what like the GPS Buddies service (http://www.gpsbuddies.com) from GPS-Buddy (http://www.gps-buddy.com).

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  5. [...] waiting in line for tickets to the latest “Indiana Jones” flick? Thanks to the combination of location-based services delivered via cell phone and social networks, you may find yourself caught or at least having to [...]

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  6. [...] U.S. thus far. By offering Latitude, Google hopes to overcome some of those shortcomings. Nokia, Useful Networks and uLocate are some of the other companies competing with [...]

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