Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where in the World is Shashi Bellamkonda - Location services becoming hot

LiveContacts lets you track your friends using the GPS on their device. For the past few weeks I have been testing a service called LiveContacts from livecontacts.com.

You can use Livecontacts with a compatible phone and a cell phone service from T-Mobile or AT&T in the US (where the provider does not restrict your GPS) . Sorry IPhone users your turn will come soon.   One of the first advantages of Livecontacts is that you don't have to do anything to update your position. The livecontacts software ( called localizer) you download on your phone does it automatically. Imagine you are hiking in a canyon and your family can see your position on their computer. In conferences you can spot where your buddies are and find them easily.

Livecontacts will introduce some additional features to allow you to see the location on your phone which will be cool. If you are concerned with privacy you can just turn off the tracking.

What I would like to see in Livecontacts:

a) A consolidation of names between buddyfinder, livecontacts and localizer.

b) Support more phones. I have a T-Mobile dash and that was not compatible for the testing and when  mentioned this to Livecontacts I got a loaner N95. I have fallen in love with the N95 so its either buying a N95 now or waiting for a N96 for me.

ScreenHunter_01 May. 18 10.15

When I go to India on vacation  this summer I can use livecontacts to see where the kids are. My wife who will be joining us later can see which place in India we are in. I see possibilities of integration with other social networks and software. Of course while your boss can use this to see where you are , the chances are you are not going to add your boss as your contact :) even if you do companies who give you a company phone probably have this information already.

If you have any of these phones http://www.livecontacts.com/default.asp?id=124&cat=1 try this service out and make me a contact.

Since launch on April 15th there are over 10k users. I asked Melanie Davidson to give me some stats on the worldwide distribution of the livecontacts beta users (Anyone can sign up at livecontacts.com)

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It seems like there is a explosion of location tracking mentions.  Dave Troy who I met again at the SocialDevCamp last week evangelizes openlocation.org with the aim to create "create better location-aware applications". In fact he launched the initiative at Oreilley's Where 2.0 http://en.oreilly.com/where2008/public/schedule/detail/4335.

A lot of people on Twitter have started using Britekite where you feed your location and it tell you who else is around you and broadcasts your location on Twitter.

Rohit Bhargava wrote a post http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2008/05/how-location-sh.html on targetting people where they will be. A term he used is location shifting which is that even if people reside in one place or add a place in their social network profile they could be anywhere.

Newsweek has an article on Loopt which is a competitor to LiveContacts  and charges $3 per month for a similar service.

This is a product from Findwhere.com a local company in the DC area that makes GPS tracking software products that can be used for surveillance, loss prevention and security.

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