Many young people are obsessed with two things: social networking and their mobile phones. Companies have been trying to cash in on combining them, but up until now, nobody has found an approach that has really caught on. News Corp.’s MySpace and Facebook Inc. recently launched offerings that help people connect to their Web sites from their phones but the services don’t allow users to do much more than they could do online.
Now, GPS technology is adding a new dimension to wireless social-networking services, letting cellphone users find each others’ locations — just as GPS-equipped phones are becoming more prevalent, partly in response to federal rules that require carriers to make it easier for emergency officials to locate cellphone users. An estimated 63% of mobile phones sold in North America in 2007 will have GPS or assisted GPS functions, up from 55% of phones sold in 2006, according to market researcher Gartner Research.