Looking to make its networks’ GPS-based locations services more useful to mobile phone users, U.S. mobile operator Sprint has announced plans to launch the “first ever” GPS-based social mapping service from loopt, enabling friends to share their locations and status messages, and sent messages to each other based on proximity, and access geo-tagged content while they’re out and about.
“The most common mobile question in the world is ‘Where are you?’ and we’re excited that loopt will be able to answer that question for Sprint customers who choose to participate,” said loopt CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman, in a statement. “The way we communicate on the mobile phone is about to change forever, as loopt on Sprint puts an end to missed connections and facilitates real-world interactions.”
Initially, the loopt service will support “more than” 25 Sprint and Nextel phones with GPS capabilities, and the service will run $2.99 over and above existing service fees and data charges. The loopt service works by automatically updating location information for everyone on a user’s private network of friends and family, with the information displayed immediately on a map displayed on the phone. The service can send an alert when a friend is nearby—making it easier for people to get together if they’re not in a familiar place. The service will also offer geo-tagging capabilities, so users can share location-based photos and information with users on their private network.
The loopt service is permission-based, so users share location information only with their loopt-enabled friends via private networks. Users can also turn location-sharing on or off at any time or on a friend-by-friend basis.
The loopt service initially launched on Boost Mobile in November 2006, and lined up more than 100,000 users within three months. Sprint expects to make the service available to its customers in the next few weeks.