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4/15/2008
04:49 PM
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FindWhere Mobilizes Buddy Location Data

The beta version of its Livecontacts application tracks contacts' movement geographically on mobile handsets.

Location services provider FindWhere made available the beta version of the Livecontacts application this week, its mobile freeware for finding buddies from a user's contact list.

Location-based services are less attractive to users when they have to pay for them, according to Jaap Groot, CEO of FindWhere. Livecontacts will include premium features like panic button, safe zone, and speed-zone notifications. "We're receiving excellent feedback from our 8,000 early beta users telling us what to focus on," Groot said Tuesday, in a statement. "Even better, after these modifications are made, we still plan to offer Livecontacts for free."

FindWhere said location sharing can be done through GPS chips on smartphones, but that it will extend the service to handsets without GPS capability sometime soon. Livecontacts will work on any GSM mobile phone network around the world, including those of AT&T and T-Mobile USA in the United States. Buddy maps also will soon be available on mobile handsets, FindWhere said.

"People spend an enormous amount of time in front of their computers. Livecontacts provides a fun and easy way to see the current location of your buddies/connections," said Melanie Davidson, director of marketing at FindWhere, in a statement.

The new application's buddy finder distinguishes between domestic and international roaming to help reduce data charges. Personal preferences can be set to determine how often a Livecontacts user's location is transmitted; motion detection is used to optimize battery life.

In other future plans, FindWhere also said it will integrate geographical data derived from the buddy finder function with its Location-Aware Mobile Phone widget. Lamp will make it easier to use location information in instant messaging, social networks, gaming, and local search, FindWhere claimed.

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