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Microsoft Experiments With Mobile Social Networking

The service lets mobile phone users exchange instant messages, find out each other's locations, and share photos.
For security purposes, Microsoft does not allow users to register more than one phone number and access the same account content from the separate phones.

The use of data services on mobile phones has been slow to take off in general, except among young adults. Fully, 45 percent of Gen Yers who have mobile phones use data services, led by text messaging, ring tones and games.

Nevertheless, that could change as the number of people with smart phones capable of advanced data services like SLAM increases. Global smart-phone shipments soared by 75.5 percent in the first half of the year to 34.7 million units, with Japan the largest market, Gartner said. Driving sales was consumers' desire for a fashionable device, and advances in messaging and personal information management software.

Smart phone shipments, however, still account for a small percentage of the hundreds of millions of mobile phones shipped each year. Worldwide shipments of phones last year totaled 825.5 million units, according to International Data Corp.

Microsoft is not alone in providing social-networking capabilities for mobile phones. Such functionality is also offered in services from Google, Yahoo, AOL and others.