Product: Cell Phone: Location
Cell Phone Buddy List   (+3, -1)  [vote for, against]
Names in your address book shown on screen when they're in range

I realise the technology is not quite there yet, but the Federal government has mandated that cell phone companies be able to pinpoint the location of cell phone users (so the emergency services can locate them in a hurry). So, this idea can be implemented as soon as the phone companies toe the regulatory line.

Analogous to the way the AOL or Yahoo buddy lists show when your friends are online, this cell phone screen would show when your friends were within, say, 50 yards.

(To circumvent stalkers and other unwanted attention, this feature would obviously require the locatee's permission to function, pace the Yahoo buddy list.)
-- DrCurry, May 13 2003

Cell Phones used as Walkie Talkies
Uses GPRS [FloridaManatee, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Garmin's Rino
Combined walkie-talkie and GPS. Not what you describe, but its a real world product that can be used in a similar way. [krelnik, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Cell Phone Location Engine,1443725,00.asp
A rules-based system for determining who can check your location, from Bell Labs. I'm guessing Buddy Lists are next. [DrCurry, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Cell Phone Mapping Service
A Silicon Valley startup is announcing a new mobile phone mapping service to let users know when their friends are nearby. [xaviergisz, Nov 16 2006]

While I don't mind a provision that lets law enforcement track my location while I'm actually using the 911 service, I'm opposed to anything that tracks my location real-time at all times. Fishbone.
-- Freefall, May 13 2003

if you are in range, you don't waste money phoning, you just YELL.
-- po, May 14 2003

//I'm opposed to anything that tracks my location real-time at all times.//

GSM, anyone?
-- FloridaManatee, May 14 2003

There's a link provided that runs push-to-talk Walkie Talkie style conversations to a group of buddies over GPRS.

The potential spin-offs are fantastic:

Imagine if your mobile phone would in the background of an ordinary IDD phone call determine if the other phone was GPRS/2.5G/3G enabled and then simultaneously switch over to a cheaper internet call, bypassing the expensive IDD network.

Assuming data transmission tariff permit, the handphone would automatically determine the best network and mode of communication, kinda like the smart phones that choose the cheapest long-distance carrier for a given call.
-- FloridaManatee, May 14 2003

Freefall: note that it's an "opt-in" service: if you don't want people tracking you, they can't.
po: that's precisely the point of the service!
Manatee: see note to po - this is so you can look up from your phone and talk to the person in the flesh. Using the phone as a walkite-talkie defeats this purpose.
-- DrCurry, May 14 2003

This is practically identical to my Waugsgety idea that you poo-poo'ed a while ago.
-- waugsqueke, May 14 2003

Well, in that case, I apologize for my scepticism. (I don't remember that one, apart from the name, I'm afraid, and try as I might, I can't find it on
-- DrCurry, May 14 2003

Just last weekend, on a night out, I was deserted; left on the club dancefloor while my friends went in search of kebabs to saciate their booze fuelled hunger.

I left the club in a rage, and happened to text (SMS) another friend complaining of such mutiny. He replied immediately saying that he was in town [and happened to be in the club i had just left]. I dashed back, paid to enter the club, paid to put my jacket back in the cloakroom and resumed my reign as boozed up King of Clubs. And they all lived happily ever after.

If only this service was available, one of two things would have happened that night...
i) I wouldn't have left and re-entered the same club. or...
ii) my 2nd group of friends would have 'seen me coming' and left before I came back!

I'll focus on i) and (+) this.
-- Jinbish, May 14 2003

Just for Jin, reverse the technology and have a "flock" setting so you're alerted when a particular group goes out of range.
-- egbert, May 14 2003

in that scenario, it could start to cry.
-- po, May 14 2003

Yeah, this is what I remember Waugsgetty being. If that's gone, you should re-post it, [waugs], if you still have it saved somewhere.
-- snarfyguy, May 14 2003

Yeah, go on, I might even vote for it this time. (Not that I recall how I voted last time.)
-- DrCurry, May 18 2003

My only worry is that it means you would have to check your phone continually to see if there was a buddy near or worse still it would inform you by ringing / vibrating. Phone continually going off everytime I pass the Indian takeaway. (No1 on my speed dial :) )
-- chimpoid, May 18 2003

no need, happens to us all.
-- po, Aug 22 2005

random, halfbakery