Feeds

Facebook Places 'sparks interest in similar services'

This is the dawning of the age of location-whores

Application security programs and practises

Alternative location service echoecho reckons Facebook Places is driving up interest in the subject, to the good of the whole industry and, in particular, echoecho.

Apparently downloads of the echoecho client have multiplied by ten since Facebook Places was announced, which the company attributes to offering much the same functionality as Facebook Places without the privacy concerns. One might argue, though, that it also comes without the revenue generating potential.

Echoecho is a mobile client that can be used to ping anyone in the address book. If the recipient also has echoecho installed they are asked if they wish to respond, and then both users' locations appear as pins in Google Mobile Maps. If the recipient doesn't have echoecho installed then they get a text telling them they really should give it a go.

Users can also specify individuals to whom they'll automatically reply, on an opt-in basis.

The idea is to provide the important bits of Facebook Places without the rather creepy stalking side of things, but it's also driven by the requester, and harder to fake than a Facebook tag. The company reckons offering the recipient a choice to respond ensures privacy, but such a rejection will still have to be explained by the child/girlfriend/employee who gets pinged.

But at least echoecho won't be keeping track of where you were: the company tells us it keeps no logs at all, which does pose the question of how it intends to make money - the service itself is, of course, free.

Founder Nick Bicanic tells us the plan is to charge companies who request the location of their customers - using the example of a bank wishing to confirm a suspicious credit-card transaction. The bank could ping the customer, discover that they (or their phone) are at the same location as the retailer and therefore approve the purchase: all without paying a human to make the call.

That seems like slim pickings to us, even bolstered with some location-based advertising. Facebook Places will be able to implement Foursquare-style incentives for its users, most of whom really do want the world to know where they are and damn the privacy consequences.

Echoecho may be a nice service for a group of friends who like to meet up - it's easy to imagine students making great use of it - but when Facebook Places can simply opt in 500 million users it's hard to see how anyone can compete. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
UN to Five Eyes nations: Your mass surveillance is breaking the law
And Navi Pillay calls for Snowden to be protected
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.