When I first heard about dodgeball, I thought it was a using location based services:

“It’s like Friendster for your mobile phone.”

We got bored with Friendster too. That’s why we built dodgeball.social.

Tell us who your friends are, tell us where you are, and we’ll let you know when your friends are within 10 blocks of you.

Excited to finally use a location based application, I looked at dodgeball’s site for more information. As it turns out, the user needs to send a text message to the service indicating their current location. Dodgeball will then send back a list of any registered friends (or friends of friends) within a 10 block area. This only works in New York City at the moment, other cities will be added in the future.

Even though it doesn’t auto-magically know where you are, this is a pretty slick idea. Actually, the idea of friends and friends of friends knowing exactly where you are at all times might be a little creepy.

Unknowingly broadcasting one’s whereabouts could certainly lead to embarrassing situations, but if the user has control of when their location is used by a service, the possibilities are exciting. Aside from AT&T’s Find Friends service,* there does not seem to be much available in the way of location based services in the US. However, if the UK is any example, we can probably expect more services here soon.

* AT&T was acquired by Cingular and it appears that the Find Friends service no longer exists.

One thought on “Dodgeball

  1. Hi,

    As one of the two folks responsible for building dodgeball I just wanted to clarify that our location-tracking is purely on an opt-in basis – there is no big brother going here. Also, we provide users with the option to “manage their friends” – i.e. determine who is notified with your location when you check in and who isn’t, and that information is for your eyes only. You can accept someone as a friend and then choose not to broadcast to them and they don;t have to have their feelings hurt.

    Our hope as application developers is that we provide enough value to people that they will want to opt-in with their locations – serendipitous meetings with friends and friends-of-friends as well as some more stuff in the pipeline.

    Thanks for the thoughts on the project and we hope you continue to use and enjoy it!


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