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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?