Gatsby + Foursquare: Find Friends or Enable Stalkers?

Such is the power of social media that a query on Facebook via Friendfeed, from an online friend I’ve never met despite college and social circle overlaps, led to discovering Gatsby, a location-based social recommendation service that works off the Foursquare mobile social platform. Gatsby looks at check-in data from Foursquare, then sends text messages to users phones suggesting that they might want to meet so and so because of common interests and being nearby. Despite there being some positive uses of Gatsby, this is the kind of mobile application that just raises a lot of red flags for some consumer.

Foursquare, which raises a few privacy red flags of its own, uses applications running on mobile devices (at present, Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre smartphones, and presumably iPod Touch and probably iPad) to let users announce to Foursquare friends or even to the world (via Twitter and Facebook) where they are at a given moment. Of course, if you want to violate your own privacy, that’s your choice.