Feeds

Facebook Places 'sparks interest in similar services'

This is the dawning of the age of location-whores

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.