Mobile social networking goes mainstream
- 18 September, 2008 08:38
Yahoo announced this week that its oneConnect contacts service will become usable via an iPhone application. The service enables people to monitor social networks, including Facebook, Friendster and Bebo.
'Native' mobile social networks
Several startups are offering location-based mobile phone social networking that's more than just downloading the feeds of the original PC-and-Web-based social networking sites.
I've been testing the social network BrightKite , which is location-based but doesn't require GPS. It simply asks you to tell where you're located whenever you go somewhere. After that, you can be notified when friends are nearby, or just find out where they are even if they're not close to you. You can take mobile phone pictures, and upload them tagged with your location.
Another startup called Belysio does something similar, telling you when friends are near, and uploading what are essentially geo-tagged photos.
A startup from Ireland called Wubud , which is quietly working on location-based social networking, gained attention recently by attracting major investment from Bebo co-founder Paul Birch and because of rumors that the company is in talks with MySpace.
These kinds of services are really the killer apps for mobile social networking. As they increasingly integrate with mobile phone GPS devices, camera phone software and all social networking sites, most of these activities will become automated, easy and increasingly focused on business benefits.
Dub Me Now
In my column two weeks ago, I talked about overdue innovation in the common practice of exchanging contact information, which still takes place with paper business cards. A startup called Dub Me Now has developed Windows Mobile and Blackberry applications (and has promised iPhone, Symbian and Palm versions) that replace business card exchanges with direct and ongoing connections between address books.
To use Dub Me Now, you simply invite contact by entering the other person's e-mail address -- via SMS is fastest, according to the site's FAQ. Once contact is established and both parties are Dub Me Now users, contacts are entered into existing contacts databases, and updated in the future when changes are made by the owner of the contact information. So if someone you met years ago gets a new phone number, they don't have to notify you. The new number is simply "there" in your contacts when you need to call.
Dub Me Now competes with both Linkedin and Plaxo for contact maintenance, but may be better focused on initiating contact from a mobile phone than those two companies.
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