Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ipoki -one to watch #4

Ipoki, founded in Spain in 2006, believes users should have control over their location information and who can see it.

It is a GPS-based social network that uses Google Maps and Google Earth to track and locate friends and family.The system also allows you to record geolocated alerts and receive them in mobile terminals. It works via an Open Source plug-in compatible with a wide range of handsets. Mobile users without inbuilt GPS have the option of linking up via Bluetooth to their GPS terminal.

Ipoki is gaining fame for its 'Follow Me' killer ap, allowing users movements to be tracked or followed in real time.This allowed the company to win the Mashup of the Month Award last summer.The Ipoki widget is now also available on netvibes and igoogle with a future release planned for Facebook.

At the same time as a new improved beta version of the software is released, Ipoki is on the lookout for seed capital to finance its further expansion. Within one year of setting up, Ipoki had already received 100,000 visits and 20,000 downloads of its software. With their 'open' philosophy and global reach, this ambitious start-up has big plans for the future. I'll be covering their progress in the coming months -in the meantime, why not try their new release and feedback on your impressions?

POST-SCRIPT: I asked Andres (one of the Ipoki founders who was browsing my post earlier and whom I'd met at a Mobile Monday event) if he had a scoop for my blog readers. He announced that they were beta testing a new nifty feature for their plugin -a photo geotracker using Flickr. The idea is that as Ipoki tracks the user's position (at a point in time) it can also pinpoint photo locations by synchronising with the camera's clock and ta-dah! You have your photos automatically geo-tagged!

I also asked Andres how Ipoki's service differed to that of Plazes -he said that Ipoki is a true LBS, tracking people's position via GPS while you need to tell Plazes where you are all the time. This raises the question -if and when Plazes will shift to using GPS to automate its tracking process...

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