Sprint Launches loopt, First Social Mapping Service

loopt.jpgAre your friends avoiding you? Are they really getting together without you? Well, Sprint probably didn’t have tracking in mind when they announced loopt, but this first-ever social mapping service on a major U.S. carrier will help you know if you’re being given the brush-off. More importantly it will help make sure you don’t miss your friends, as the service uses GPS capabilities on select Sprint handsets to facilitate real-world interaction between friends. You’ll now be able to share your location, and send proximity-based messages and view geo-tagged photos. OK, so this isn’t a way to track your buddies, but making sure you don’t miss each other is a good feature to have.

“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 chief executive officer and co-founder, Sam Altman. “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.”

The service can automatically update the location of everyone in a user’s private network of friends and display the info directly on a mobile map. loopt can also alert you to when a friend is near. The service is 100 percent permission-based, and this data is only available in private networks. So you’re not signing up to have big brother watch you, even if it sounds like that at first. It will be available on more than 25 Sprint and Nextel phones for $2.99 per month, along with standard data charges.