You’ve seen the commercials for Boost Mobile where the people with the phones are giant dots and the whole commercial is, “Where you at?” “I know where you at, you know where I’m at?” Yes, they get annoying, but they advertise a service that most of us are familiar with: GPS location. Well, with the web and social network sites, are they really necessary in today’s world?

Verizon Wireless has offered a service called Chaperone, available on select phones, which used the “childs” phone’s A-GPS (psuedo-GPS over cell towers) to help pinpoint one’s location, similar to VZ Navigator. The phone would then take that information and send it back to Verizon’s servers where it could be available online or on the “parent” phone and would show where that person is at any given point. I have honestly not seen one report of anybody using this, so I’m not exactly sure how this works in real-world situations.

Boost Mobile, since they use Nextel’s network and phones, use actual GPS, so this makes location more accurate, but you can find more than one person/people on your account. You are able to find all of your buddy’s using Boost Mobile at the click of a button. Helio use’s the same type of service in their Buddy Beacon service.

But in today’s society, there is one service that can do that and more, for free (SMS charges only) and available to the masses, no matter what network you are on: Twitter. That’s right, the super-mega social networking site that exploded at last year’s South by Southwest Conference. Members of the network can post short, 140 character blurbs that generally deal with either random things or where they are at at any given moment. As long as they either have web access or a cell phone with text messaging, they can post.

Some people have turned Twitter into a promotion tool for their own products, but most have still stuck to what people are doing/thinking or where they are at. Other services, such as Pownce, don’t have a character limit, so it can be used to post long ideas they may have or just random thoughts. Users on Pownce can also share files and post events on their profile for their friends to see.

One feature that could merge the functionality of Twitter and Chaperone together? Your phone “geo-tagging” your Twitter posts when you set. Say you find a cool restaurant, you just fire up your phone with a Twitter application, have it find your GPS location, and have them posted on Twitter along with your message. That would be killer for places you really, really like. It could also be used in instances of when you may be in danger and can just somehow send a quick SMS message. Could have, “In danger. Coordinates….” That would be a nice application as well.

Anyways, back to the main topic.

So yes, services such as Chaperone are still needed for kids age 12 and under, but I think once your kid becomes a teen and become more involved with the net and services such as Twitter, you’re going to need a text messaging plan. They can find Twitter highly addictive and may post every five minutes, which I have been guilty of at certain times. Twitter is here to stay, no matter what other people may say, and it will only grow larger.

[Originally posted on]

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