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Telling Friends Where You Are (or Not)

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Austin residents Jordan Viator and David Neff check on their Foursquare updates during the South by Southwest convention.

Bryce Harper for The New York Times

As Jordan Viator roams the conference rooms, dimly lit bars and restaurants here at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, she often pulls out her cellphone and uses the Foursquare service to broadcast her location.

Such a service might sound creepy to the privacy-minded. But it came in handy for Ms. Viator when she arrived Friday at a party in a bar called Speakeasy and could not find anyone she knew. Her friends who also use Foursquare could see where she was, and some joined her a few minutes later.

“I only share my location with people I am comfortable meeting up with, and when I want to be found,” said Ms. Viator, a 26-year-old communications manager at a nonprofit company.

Mobile services like Loopt and Google’s Latitude have promoted the notion of constantly beaming your location to a map that is visible to a network of friends—an idea that is not for everybody.

But now there is a different approach, one that is being popularized by Foursquare.

From The New York Times
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Robert Ables

No, you share your location with Foursquare. You hope Foursquare only shares it with people you're comfortable meeting up with, but bugs or hackers or social engineering may cause it to be shared with many others.

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