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Mobile Location-Based Social Networking

According to ABI Research, mobile location-based social networking is expected to become a driver for the adoption of location-based services -- as it provides a unifying framework for a large set of applications such as friend finders, local search and geo-tagging.

While many LBS applications will include features allowing the sharing of real-time experiences via fixed social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, fully-fledged mobile location-based social networking sites will also gain momentum with more than 82 million subscriptions expected by 2013.

"While growth will be mainly driven by the availability of multimedia-centric GPS handsets, other mobile form factors will also become important," says ABI Research director Dominique Bonte.

Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) with built-in GPS receivers have been announced, with location-based social networking site GyPSii supporting Moblin-based Intel Atom processor-powered MIDs.

Connected PNDs and outdoor GPS solutions are other obvious candidates for location-based networking. Nissan Carwing in-car telematics solution allows the sharing and ranking of fuel consumption in Japan.

Licensing agreements with carriers and handsets manufacturers will be a crucial success factor for location-enabled social sites to reach critical market share.

While initially a wide range of business models will coexist, ultimately advertising-based models will prevail due to the perfect fit with the local search- and content-driven social context.

Another important trend is the emergence of location-enabled instant messaging with applications such as Palringo Local and Nokia Chat enriching mobile communication with location context.

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