Jabberwocky, Meet Friendster
By Eric Lin, Wed Jun 02 22:00:00 GMT 2004
Friend of a friend applications are blooming on mobiles this year like they did on the desktop last year. Moreso than on the desktop, it's too early to declare a winner, or even a front-runner.
Ever since the Lovegety hit Japan in 1998, people have been responding to beeps and messages hoping that a wireless device will help them meet a future lover or friend. These devices or wireless applications usually relied on both people beeping or receiving a message simultaneously in hopes that the beeping and neck craning would get the other's attention. Now with picture messaging, users can finally see who they should be looking for.
Recently there has been a spate of social networking services for mobile devices instead of PCs. Dodgeball tells you where your friends are. Jabberwocky tells you who you bump into on a regular basis. Now Small Planet tells you when you bump into a friend of a friend (FOAF).
Like Dodgeball, Small Planet started out as a student research project and has grown into a full fledged application. Like Jabberwocky, Small Planet depends on you and another user running a Bluetooth application on your handset. Small Planet's application searches for other handsets running the same application. If one is found, Small Planet sends the ID to its servers over GPRS to find out if the other user is connected to you by 3 degrees or less. Should both users be connected, they each receive the other's photo and profile in the application and are notified that there's an acquaintance close by (very close by considering Bluetooth's limited range).
Since it is still young, Small Planet only runs on Nokia 6600 and 6230. So not only do you have to travel in circles of the wireless bleeding edge, but you'll also need a pretty bleeding edge handset as well. We doubt you'll meet many people on it right now.
Small Planet wasn't the only mobile peer to peer application to be announced this week. Pocket Rendezvous is an application that enables Wi-Fi Pocket PCs to access and serve zero config Wi-Fi applications (Rendezvous is Apple's moniker for zero config). While zero config is a peer to peer protocol, there aren't any typical peer to peer applications. However the author has proposed server applications for broadcasting information like business cards or even a personal ad, turning your Pocket PC into a mobile billboard or social lubricant.