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WiFi buddy lists

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 WiFi buddy lists2003-05-10 14:40
7 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

SmartMobs:
Trepia provides a new smartmobbing tool: access a location-based list of other nearby WiFi users. It's not available for Mac yet: please contact Trepia to ask them to accelerate Mac development.(Via Emergent Report)
On the surface, Trepia looks similar to a buddy list. While programs like ICQ and AIM will show you a static list of friends, Trepia shows you a list of people who are currently in your area -- people who you most likely didn't know before! You can check out their profile and picture and strike up a conversation, knowing that if you actually want to meet them, they are never more than a few minutes away.

How does it work behind the scenes? If two people are within range of the same Wi-Fi access point, they must be close to each other. Building on this idea, Trepia tracks the movement of people through access points, and then notifies you of other users who are in your area. Trepia is not limited by Wi-Fi's range because it even works when two people are not on the same access point, but the access points themselves are close to each other.
That could be good not just for talking, but for an ad hoc economy. Values change when an instant transaction is available is possible in places where it otherwise wasn't. If I'm in the airport and I realize I can't bring that pound of foie gras with me on the plane, I could find somebody else who wants it in a jiffy.


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7 comments

11 May 2003 @ 19:47 by Stuart @12.233.20.231 : Trepia
I'm not quite so positive. http://www.henshall.com/blog/archives/000114.html  


11 May 2003 @ 22:55 by ming : Trepia
Very good points. Yeah, it isn't just like that. Lots of issues of privacy. What level are we willing to share with whom. Indeed, while I might be quite willing to share a lot of information about myself on the net, I'd be somewhat less willing to share them all automatically with whoever walks by. A profile with my picture just isn't good enough.  


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