Location-Based Social Networks

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Location-Based Social Networks
Declan Traynor University of Ulster, UK Kevin Curran University of Ulster, UK

Chapter 15

The ability to gather and manipulate real world contextual data, such as user location, in modern software systems presents opportunities for new and exciting application areas. A key focus among those working in the area of Location-Based services today has been the creation of social networks which allow mobile device users to exchange details of their personal location as a key point of interaction. While the initial interest in these services has been exceptionally high, they are plagued by the same challenges as all Location Based services, regarding the privacy and security of users and their data. This chapter aims to investigate the area of Location-Based Social Networks (LBSNs), with a view to documenting how they contribute to a new form of expertise due to the now accurate knowledge of where people are actually located at a moment in time.

Location-Based Social Networks (LBSN) leverage the power and high adoption rate of modern mobile devices to provide applications and services which allow users to share and discuss the real-world places they visit, as a part of their virtual interactions (Curran et al, 2011). The ever-increasing uptake in the use of the internet and online social networks, supported by the capabilities of today’s ‘smart’ mobile devices, has brought with it a host of new possibilities for user interaction. Of these, ‘location sharing’ among users has undoubtedly become the feature ‘du jour’ when it comes to DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1981-4.ch015

building social networking services. The focus placed on location sharing varies from service to service, with some such as Twitter and Facebook providing such features as non-essential extras and others, such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and Google Latitude making the concept of social location sharing central to the user...
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