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Feelrz: mobile proximity alerts

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The Elevator Pitch

For social people with cell phones who want the ability to randomly meetup with friends, Feelrz is a way to do so that requries no explicit action to update location. Unlike twitter and dodgeball our product allows people to find each other without the obtrusive proces of the other services.

The Idea

For mobile devices that support location-based services, create a service that allows you to selectively publish your location to a group of friends and receive alerts when they come within a certain proximity. This improves the chances of a spontaneous encounters with friends when you're out. Services like Dodgeball and Twitter have rocketed in popularity confirming that a) people love publishing & consuming info about their activities with friends via mobile devices and b) they're willing to pay for it in the form of text messaging fees.

By tapping into LBS, Feelerz removes the need to explicitly publish your location via SMS and instead you can turn it on/off when you want to be found. A web interface allows you to manage your friend circle online and set the proximity range. You can enter credentials for existing social networking or dating sites to seed your contacts list. There would be a free version limited to x number of friends and a paid premium version that's unlimited.

The Logo

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I thought of this idea when I was...

I have been reading up on location-based services and some carriers support it well while others are lagging but getting there. Twitter has achieved overnight popularity but it still seems too cumbersome and intrusive (both from a publishing perspective as well as consumption - getting a ton of SMS chatter). Feelrz is something infintely more useful: you turn it on when going out and "put your feelers" out by passively broadcasting your location and receiving notification only when an acquaintance is close by. It would probably take hold within friend circles first but could easily be extended to "discovery" type situations for meeting new people. For instance, it could add an intermediate level of casualness for making the transition from meeting someone on a dating site to that first physical encounter (ie. if people have corresponded before it alerts them when they're at the same nightclub).

Comments Posted

fish99 Posted: April 18, 2007, 2:44 pm

Location Based services are getting bigger and bigger.

I like it. Proximity alerts can be used for many different applications.



Social networking.


PsychSplash Posted: April 18, 2007, 9:29 pm

if my phone werent so crappy I think this would be a lot of fun. I think it needs to anchored from a marketing point of view, i.e. "saturday night SOS - let your mobile locate your friends for a wicked night out" Everyone knows to activate their phones on saturday night and head into the city - they dont know who they will find!!

anathema Posted: April 19, 2007, 2:17 am

An excellent idea. I would be pleased to work on aprototypewhen the specification is fleshed out a bit.

plusbryan Posted: April 19, 2007, 11:33 am

You might check out loopt.com. I've played with it a bit and it's very cool - you can see exactly where your buds are on a google-like map. I'm not sure if they have notifications like you suggest, but it might be worth a look to know the competition.

scrollinondubs Posted: April 19, 2007, 3:46 pm

@psych & fish- Thanks!

@anathema - I notice you have Symbian OS and Windows Mobile expertise- would love to have you involved. I've been reading some stuff from the TechDirt insight community on how to best roll out a service for mobile phones and there's quite a bit of debate about how to do it to capture the most market (ie. BREW v. Java v. Symbian/Windows Mobile v. SMS v. custom per device). I don't know the right answer at this stage but my gut is do whichever is the least common denominator that solves the need. I setup a business page for this project and will take a crack at an executive summary and rough development spec & roadmap. I'll let you know when it's available.

@plusbryan - thanks for the headsup on Loopt. I had heard about that awhile back on TechCrunch I think and it seems to do something similar. They appear to offer the mapping feature as a java app running on Boost Mobile phones exclusively with promise to support more carriers. It seems like it will be a fairly huge space given the complexity of permutations of carrier x device x OS x version - I will definitely dig into their offering to learn more about the competitive landscape. my gut is there may be a way to position differently that can sacrafice the mapping feature and instead run over SMS to sidestep the complexity of supporting all the above permutations. will be interesting to dig more in depth. thanks again.


Brenden Posted: April 19, 2007, 8:16 pm

not a bad plan

Poopy Posted: April 20, 2007, 11:17 pm

I was just at the Web 2.0 expo (where I heard about Cambrian House, actually) and I got to meet some of the "technorati" (is that totally dorky of me to say?) Anyway, these guys were saying that they wish they had exactly this service...they said they wish Twitter had some kind of "airport" service because they travel a lot (and I guess they get lonely) and they wanted to know if any of their other conference-speaking-friends might be in the same city.

scrollinondubs Posted: April 23, 2007, 12:56 am

Poopy- yea it would definitely have a "permiscuous" mode in which you could get notified of not just people in your own circle but any person that has their "feelrz out." Ritche's recent suggestion to do it over Bluetooth is very interesting and solves a lot of issues - http://www.cambrianh...-discussion/1126

tell CH to fund this one if it's something they need themselves anyways ;-)


AdvocatusDiaboli Posted: May 8, 2007, 8:47 am

I like it if it is multiplatform and not dependent on carriers! Then we even have something to mix-up with my idea (http://www.cambrianh...er/ideas-id/Lkyt2YR/ )

swestrup Posted: May 11, 2007, 10:49 pm

I like it, but it already exists. Check out:


They're just getting started, but I saw a demo of their service recently, and it looked quite slick.

Summertime Posted: September 5, 2007, 4:56 pm

I like this idea. The "casual Saturday Night" feelerz is interesting, but would it also be useful to select a subset of friends to see your location? The subset could change from workday, evening, Friday evening, Saturday... (?)

GordonMcDowell Posted: November 28, 2007, 9:59 am

I've added this idea for ANDROID specific brainstorming. I think the general notion of "broadcasting your location and state" is going to be covered by emerging ANDROID apps... it was mentioned specifically as an example in Google's ANDROIDOLOGY video collection.

But ScrollinOnDubs offers a unique articulation (various feeler states), so I'd like people to have read his idea before moving on past the create-spontaneous-encounters genera of apps.

GroundLoad Posted: November 28, 2007, 6:46 pm

Is there any way to find out how well this idea did in it's first run through ? (mid april) I'm curious if the ANDROID will help boost votes for certain ideas.

Kevin_Cox Posted: November 28, 2007, 6:46 pm

"selectively publish your location to a group of friends and receive alerts when they come within a certain proximity."

Android all ready has an app like this built in by Google. I think they showed it off in one of there demo videos as well.

Rich2809 Posted: November 29, 2007, 2:53 am


This is a pay service, costs a staggering, mind blowing 975€ per year but you do get a free ringtone. What a deal!

Note to self (never get son a mobile phone)

vanhees Posted: November 29, 2007, 3:32 am

It exists in the Netherlands

GordonMcDowell Posted: November 29, 2007, 2:12 pm

Kevin_Cox, they discussed the possibility of it. I don't think its quite worth while building exactly that... my interest in Feelrz is the tagging of interests, so there's facilitation of people hooking up who don't know each other.

Some of the URLs people submitted oh-so-not-long-ago are dead.

VizionQuest Posted: November 30, 2007, 7:12 pm

Great market and great for stalkers too!

Kevin_Cox Posted: December 3, 2007, 7:37 pm

"Kevin_Cox, they discussed the possibility of it."
No, they have it out I have seen it. It is not just talk.

PhilipH Posted: December 3, 2007, 8:14 pm

There are some security/privacy/safety issues to think about, but I don't think they're insurmountable by any means.

Kevin_Cox Posted: December 4, 2007, 8:10 pm

Video of Skypop version:

Code source by developers for something like this:


scrollinondubs Posted: January 21, 2008, 4:33 pm

@Kevin- how many people do you know using an Android phone right now? 'nuff said.

This whole thing becomes much more doable if it's limited to the iPhone given the Current Location cell triangulation feature available via the last firmware update. Supposedly they release the SDK for iPhone in a few weeks. The people that are all jazzed about the android platform are techies- the reality is consumers are buying and using devices like the iPhone. I would way rather hang a service on the iPhone than the Android platform right now.


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