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Cell phones, like real estate, are all about location, location, location. These days, it's not enough to call someone and say "Hey, I'm at Starbucks on Van Ness. Come and meet me for a cup of coffee." That's so two years ago. These days, your friends are expected to fire up their mobiles, and instantly tell where you are, and what you're doing.
And we're worried about privacy on Facebook?
However you feel about it, location based services are hot, and it seems like they're here to stay. One of the originators in the field, Silicon Valley's Loopt, is upping the location-based ante a bit, convincing merchants to give you discounts if you check in at their place of business, letting people know where you are.
In a way, Loopt's plan is a stroke of genius. Merchants like your business, but would really love it if all your friends came by, too. Not sure how many of your friends would mimick your coffee or blue jean proclivities, but Starbucks and The Gap are two of the early business giants to sign on to what Loopt calls its 'Star" program.
Loopt Star is an app for your iPhone or iPod touch, and it shows that Loopt was onto something when it rolled its location based cell service in the first place. Now, with competitors like Gowalla and Foursquare dominating our Twitter feeds ("Hey, I'm the Mayor of Gino's Crab Shack!'), Loopt's early vision is being vindicated. Now, the company wants to re-claim its territory, and is enlisting businesses to help.
Scott can be followed, but not all that closely located, on Twitter: @scottbudman