EchoEcho Aims to Help You Find Your Friends Now

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Q: Whenever I use Foursquare I'm disappointed to find that I've just missed running into some friends. Is there a better smartphone application for coordinating group meetups?

EchoEcho-Carousel.JPGA: The problem with Foursquare and other location-based services is that it's almost impossible to follow a friend from place to place unless you are constantly checking the application. How disappointing it is to check in to a bar (or a restaurant or a store or a...) only to find that your friends had been there recently but have since moved on?

I've never been a proponent of Foursquare: I'm not excited by the possibility of one day becoming the virtual mayor of my neighborhood watering hole. And I don't like badges. (Didn't even like them when I was a Boy Scout.) But EchoEcho, a simple application that provides an easy work-around to that most basic of Foursquare's problems, has promise. The only problem is that for EchoEcho to work at its best, you need to agree with me.

Visit m.echoecho.me from your smartphone (EchoEcho currently supports Android phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys and a selection of other platforms) to download the application. Once you've installed it, you can quickly send a standard prompt to any of your friends: "Where are you now?" If your friend doesn't have EchoEcho installed, he or she will be sent a text message letting them know about the service. If they do, they can choose whether or not to acknowledge your question. If they do, EchoEcho will send you their exact coordinates laid over a map.

"The idea is similar to Google Latitude, but that service broadcasts your location, which drains battery life," according to Business Insider. "If also shows the location of multiple people at the same time, which is [more] information than you need. EchoEcho is much simple and more immediate -- you ask, your friend responds."

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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