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eShadow smartphone app will direct you towards nearby friends

It’s like Foursquare and Facebook Places, but a little less voluntary. Making its debut at the IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), eShadow is a smartphone app that will let you identify people in the neighboring area who are also using the same software. Then, it points you toward them.

eShadow works by recognizing nearby wireless networks, as well as the wireless communications technologies found within your smartphone. I don’t think that eShadow is particularly novel, though, since you could have had a similar experience with Google Latitude. I guess the idea here is that you can connect with new friends too, based on the personal and professional interests that you share.

They say that eShadow complements current social networks, because it emphasizes and facilitates face-to-face meetings. I imagine this could get really messy at trade shows where you have a lot of people in a small space, all of whom likely share some really similar interests. Thankfully, there are both whitelists and blacklists built into the software that you can define and adjust.

“Today, online social networking has advanced dramatically, but our ability to meet people face-to-face hasn’t gotten any easier,” said Dong Xuan, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Ohio State University. “We want eShadow to close social gaps and connect people in meaningful ways, while keeping the technology non-intrusive and protecting privacy.”

I’m pretty public with what I do — via my blog, Twitter, and other places online — but these kinds of programs are a little too stalker-ish for me. What do you think?


About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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