Telecom operator Bharti Airtel is piloting a location based service in Delhi and Mumbai, called Buddy Finder. The service allows allows a subscriber to monitor the location of an individual who has agreed to share his/her location with the subscriber. This is quite similar to a service from Telenity that had come up for discussion at a Mobile Monday in Delhi a few months ago. The cost of the service is Rs. 10 for 10 days, and can be activated using the *321*88# code. We learned of the service from a subscriber in Mumbai, and tried it out in Delhi. Our take: The Challenge The challenge for this service, is in replacing the phone call. If a subscriber has to take the initiative of requesting inputs on a buddys location, then what stops him from just placing a call and asking the same question, getting the same details. I don't think the cost of the call will be a major factor in the urban areas for this service. What We Liked The concept is simple and very useful, and satisfied an important need: it operates on a 'Master-Slave' relationship paradigm, where it is highly likely that one individual will agree to share his/her location with another: for example, Husband-Wife (either way), Car Owner-Driver, Employer-Employee, Girlfriend-Boyfriend, Parent-Child, etc. A parent would want to know where his/her child is. The other key thing is that it addresses the privacy issue by incorporating consent: only a person whom I allow access to my…
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