Phone-based ‘icebreaker’

A new "real-space social networking" product for iPhones, iPod Touch devices, and laptops called iFob is a sign of the way social networking is going. It's marketed as being "simple, fun, and gamelike," and it probably is in the right hands. "Instead of logging onto a social networking site and searching through lists of far away strangers who may be living in virtual fantasy lands, iFob finds other people who are in the exact same location, at the exact same time, as each other," reports. Users can chat with each other in that location or just send one-liners like "here to meet someone." "Unlike social networking sites such as Facebook or My Space, iFob only displays lists of iFob users who are actually in the same hotspots at the same time, meaning that iFob users who seem interesting will be close enough to look up and exchange smiles." iFob is designed to become an icebreaker to real conversations. There are some similarities between this and California-based loopt's mobile social networking, but this report didn't go into whether iFob has a similar level of safety measures to loopt's.

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