What's Up With Friend Location Tracking?

Loopt LogoWhen I began writing this post I had the same attitude I always have on location based social networks: what’s the point? Well I went and checked out the mobile social network, Loopt, after reading about their new partnership with Verizon and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed.

Initially I figured location tracking services would be only useful for parents that want to keep track of their childrens’ activities. Loopt on the other hand enables you to mash together text messages with location. This is really useful for close friends because rather than texting somebody, you could simply walk on over and say “Hello!” For now Twitter has worked sufficiently for knowing what my friends are up to but perhaps my voyeuristic needs will grow over time.

While I think automatically being updated of my friends locations is weird on its own, combining location with messaging makes a lot of sense. If I was on a camping trip and lost in the woods, it would be helpful to see my location relative to my friends. Then again if I knew my location, I wouldn’t be lost! As we make the transition from desktops to mobile, I have a feeling that we will see in an increase in location based offerings. Do you think location based services are useful? Would you use them?