The Tipping Point

I’m a long-time cell-phone hater. This stems partly from the fact that I don’t like phones in general, and partly from the dropped calls, intermittent signals, and latency that causes me to always feel like I’m tripping over and interrupting the person on the other end of the call. I have, however, thought for several years that there is one application that might pull me into the late-20th century cell-phone toting world: a GPS-enabled friend tracking service where you could see the location of your designated buddies on a map and get alerts if you happen to wander close to them.

I had seen an early research project along these lines a few years back where a grad student had hacked together a system to keep track of friends on ski trails. It showed good promise, but wasn’t really robust and friendly enough for wide use.

This morning while listening to NPR, I heard about Mologogo, a new effort that is much more polished and complete. It combines geolocation, chat, and social networking functions into what looks like a rapidly evolving, pretty feature-rich package — very interesting, indeed. I found myself for the first time this morning actually looking on cell phone providors’ sites to check out their service offerings. Mologogo, what have you wrought?