Yesterday Sprint announced a new mobile “friend finding” capability. This feature uses Loopt’s GPS technology to notify you of your friends’ whereabouts. (You set up permission for who you want to see where you are.)
I imagine it won’t take long to marry this to Webdate Mobile, which enables access to dating profiles, chat and real-time messaging through members’ wireless phones.
Consider the implications of bringing these two technologies together. You’ve made contact with several men online and exchanged cell phone numbers, but haven’t met. You’re all on the find-a-friend program and you’ve exchanged permission with each guy to track each others whereabouts. You are at your favorite Starbucks when you get an alert that one of the guys is nearby. You recheck his profile via your phone, decide it would be okay to meet, and invite him to join you.
How might this change the way we date? It would certainly create a lot more spontaneity. But I can foresee having to fend off requests to meet up when I’ve got on my yoga togs and am not really date ready. I guess one could always turn off the GPS or the phone if you didn’t want to be found. And you can remove permission to be found for any contact, but that would defeat the purpose in this case.
What if you didn’t turn off that feature and you’re multidating? You’re out with one guy and another you’ve seen a few times finds your location. Instead of telling you he’s swinging by, he decides to surprise you. Surprise indeed! No, you’d have to find a way to cloak your location when you didn’t want an unexpected interruption.
On the other hand, it could be great if you’re having dinner by yourself and you get an alert that one of your gaggle of guys is nearby. You then get to enjoy someone else’s company for the activity.
What if he forgets to turn off the phone when he’s at his former girlfriend’s and you know he’s not there to fix her leaky faucet? Or the situation could be reversed and you’ve dropped by your ex’s to pick up your last issue of Utne Reader and your current beau sees where you are and goes ballistic. Perhaps this is a bit too Big Brother and creepy.
What do you think about this possible use of this technology for dating? What are the pros and cons that you can see? Would you use it for guys you’re interested in dating?