Location-based social networks allow members to share their location through GPS, Bluetooth, email or text messaging. The member of the network may also add comments about restaurants, allow friends to know where you are going, share information, or find friends that are few blocks away or even in the Café across the road.
Several mobile-only social networks have emerged, all with unique features that would potentially attract users. However, there is one feature that every mobile social network should have and this is physical presence detection and information exc
hange (Michael Arrington, Techcrunch.com, http://techcrunch.com/2007/09/11/the-holy-grail-for-mobile-social-networks/). This is exactly the reason for porting a community in a mobile device and detach it from a desktop PC.
Some of the well known location based mobile social networks are: BrightKite
, Aka-Aki, Mobiluck. The mobile social network sites may be clustered in 6 main categories based on their dominant features. These are:
1. The group texter: Th is service focuses on sending short, text-based messages in a group of people at once.
2. The radar: The radar knows where the user and his/her friends are. These sites support location-based services by keeping track of where the user’s contacts are. Most of these sites allow the user to check if there is anyone close to a particular venue or location, while some of them actively alert him/her if any of his/her contacts are within a certain distance.
3. The Geotagger: These sites allow users to tag locations with images and information that appear on a world map. The user may tag favourite places for shopping, dining or any other activity and share these tags with their friends and the network.
4. The dating service: These sites are identical to their online counterparts. Users create a profile and they are matched with other users. Some also use radar features to alert the user if an interesting (according to the profi le) person is nearby.
5. The social networker: These sites aim to be as similar as possible to online social networking platforms. Some of the well known SNS such as Facebook and twitter have also a mobile version.
6. The Media share: These sites share media files with groups of people.
There are also location-based social networks that are not targeting mobile devices only, such as picasa and flickr image geotagging services.
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