The instant gratification that comes with the quick snap of a cellphone photo or a text message to friends has taken on a new, more interactive form-thanks to a number of companies hoping to cash in on the nascent but growing market for mobile social networking applications.
Groovr.com is just the latest in a growing field of vendors building on the popularity of camera phones and text messaging. Services from such merchants act as a gateway to an extended group of friends and family, allowing users to quickly set up a night of clubbing or a date with that attractive friend of a friend.
Groovr.com allows users to log in and out of its service via text message. Users can create unique locations such as their favorite bars, coffee shops or restaurants to check in and out of. When a friend or colleague logs into the service, they can see where other users are-and even view photos that have been taken and posted from the bar, coffee shop or other location.
While Groovr.com is still in its infancy, having apparently generated the most immediate traction in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, other companies have built up some rather significant, far-reaching networks of their own.
Dodgeball.com, which organizes its members into regions, has grown to at least 22 cities throughout the United States. Once a user text messages their current location to their Dodgeball.com account, the service will search for friends within a 10-block radius.
Yahoo Inc. too has a mobile social network application it calls “Mixd,” which allows users to set up meetings and other events through text messaging.
Others looking to cash in on the community aspect of cellphone messaging include Textamerica.com, NewBay and others.