Mobiluck - Location Based Social Network

MobiLuckMobiLuck, which started out as a Bluetooth based chat, dating, messaging and file sharing application now has a mobile web based social network. Like MocoSpace, Peperonity, Wadja, ItsMy, Multiply and several others it's a pure mobile play rather than a mobile front end to a web based social network. MobiLuck focuses on location and presence. The idea is to share your location with friends (and strangers if your feeling adventuresome) so you can meet up with them in the real world. When you log into MobiLuck you see a listing of friends and other users who are nearby. See someone you know or want to meet? MobiLuck lets you open a chat session, IM them with MSN or phone them. Optionally you can receive SMS alerts when a friend is within a certain distance (1km by default).

The mobile web based version of MobiLuck doesn't really detect your location . That's not really MobiLuck's fault, it's almost impossible for an off portal web service to obtain location data because of carrier policies. To share your location with MobiLuck you have to enter it manually.

MobiLuck ProfileLocation entry is cumbersome on mobiles at best. MobiLuck uses your IP address to default your country. With Opera Mini it said I was in Norway! (Hint to mobile developers - proxy based browsers like Mini send the user's real IP address in the X-Forwarded-For header.) Changing my country to US required scrolling to the bottom of a very long drop down listing what seemed to be every nation in the world. It would have been much easier to just key "us". Once selected, the country does persist across sessions, at least. I also had intermittent problems saving locations in MobiLuck. I'd enter a full location with street address, city, state and postal code and hit "OK" to set that as my current location and get another screen that said "There are many addresses, please select one" with a list of 3 or 4 addresses, none of them the one I had just keyed! This didn't happen every time but it did occur often to be annoying.

MobiLuck has an attractive tabbed interface and is generally pretty easy to use except in the critical area of location selection. I like the way the main navigation is implemented as tab bar with 4 tabs; People, Places, Chat, Change Location and Settings. I did find it hard to tell which tab had focus on a phone with the Obigo browser. Fixing that was just a matter of going into MobiLuck's settings and changing display from "Graphic" to "Text". The tabs do look and work great with Opera Mini and Nokia Webkit. Another thing I like about MobiLuck is that it's very easy to sign up using just a phone. All you need is a phone number or email address and a password. I'm sure ease of sign up contributes to MobiLuck's rapid growth, 130,000 users since launching four months ago. The privacy features in MobiLuck are good too, your location is only shared to friends by default, you can change it to be visible to all, none or a subset of your friends. MobiLuck shows a lot of promise - if they can just make setting your location easy and reliable.

MobiLuck (m.MobiLuck.com)

Content: **** Usability: XXX

Related: Mobile Social at Wap Review

26 thoughts on “Mobiluck - Location Based Social Network

  1. I love mobiluck too, but its not responding to my commands. Whats up? Please guys do something now!
  2. hi i m abhijeet my nick name is kumar sonu sir pls solve my prob any on i am not able to open this site i have more friend waiting me
  3. Pingback: The Mobiluck Diary » Blog Archive » Location based myths

  4. Urban C}{aos,

    That's annoying, I hope he has free incoming texts. Three things you can try:

    1) Remove and replace the battery on the phone that's getting the message. If the phone software is corrupted it may be telling the network that receiving the message failed causing the network to resend it

    2) Have your friend reply to one of the messages with the work STOP All automated SMS services are supposed to respect the STOP command.

    3)Both you and your friend should call your mobile opperator and ask them to investigate and block the messages. Sometimes the resending issue is caused by a problem on the network.

    4) Contact MobiLuck using the form at http://www.mobiluck.com/en/contact.php
  5. Can anyone help me ...? I sent an SMS to one of my friends using the free SMS service of m.mobiluck.com.

    The problem is that he has recieved the same message 500 times ...!!!! n it is still goin on ... how can i stop this ...???
  6. Dear i am trying to open mobiluck but not yet open i dont know why reason i am unable to talk but still i am trying


    shakil
  7. Patrick,

    Thanks for commenting. It's good to hear that you are improving MobiLuck's location detection and making it easier for a user to specify their location. Those were the only weak points I saw in an otherwise very nice mobile service.

    I've updated the URL in the review to m.mobiluck.com
  8. Thanks for your insightful comment, Alan.

    I generally agree with the points you make although I do think cell tower location IS accurate enough for location based services including MoSoSo. The cell id will get the user's location within a few miles which is good enough to facilitate a meet up.

    I will definitely have to take a look at what you are doing with Bluepulse, soon.
  9. Thanks Dennis for a great review. We're working on resolving the location issues. We're improving the address localisation engine and the quick localisation feature that lets users click on a place they've visited before or that is nearby to their last location. This is key to realising our goal of bringing location based social networking to everyone independent of operators around the world, so you don't need to download an application or have a smartphone to make it work, just a mobile phone with a browser.

    I wanted also to note that I don't share Alan's views regarding the use of location in social networking, and nor do many of the people I talk to in the industry:
    - You don't need to localise someone as precisely as GPS does for it to be useful for social networking. Just knowing someone is in the area is already interesting because it's possible to join them in the near future, regardless of knowing exactly where they are. In fact for privacy reasons, some users would prefer to be only approximately located. Cell ID localisation in cities, particularly with such a high density of transmitters, is therefore a perfectly viable localisation method, and cities are where you find the critical mass of users.
    - Friends who live nearby can not be assumed to be near you most of the time unless you all work from home and hardly ever go out. They will be away from home at the times when it is most interesting to know where they are - lunchtimes, weekends, evenings out. In fact it is friends who live in the same city and participate in the vibrant city life who will derive the most benefit from mobile LBS social networking services.
    - Knowing what a friend is doing can useful and interesting but is much more powerful if you know where they are doing it. What if they're watching a sports game at a bar but they're too far away for you to get there by closing time? Twitter lets millions of people say what they're doing now, but imagine adding location information to that too. That's what MobiLuck is aiming to do by sending SMS alerts whenever a friend is nearby. What your friend is doing is often implied in their place localisation (bar, restaurant, cinema, museum, ...) however they can also tell you what they're doing if they wish.

    By the way we're now also accessible via the more contemporary mobile site URL m.mobiluck.com
  10. Hi Dennis.

    Agreed, without widespread GPS features in handsets, location-based social networking by IP or tower signal strength can't be accurate enough to be helpful. And who knows when/if GPS will be pervasive enough to make a market? Possibly not for a long time yet.

    It's not related to my current work on contract for bluepulse.com but I've done some informal surveying amongst friends and found that in most communities, women are almost certainly not going to physically meet someone they've been approached by via a mobile handset. That inhibits the potential for new social interactions signficantly, to guy-meets-guy.

    Amongst friends we already have, I believe for most of us, friends fall into two categories; (1) those who live nearby, so i can safely assume they're near me most of the time; and (2) friends out of town who generally email/call me weeks in advance to let me know they'll be visiting soon. In neither case do I need a mobile social networking platform to tell me where they are.

    So maybe 'where they are' isn't that interesting, but 'what they're doing right now' on the other hand, is very interesting indeed, since I might want to join them in the activity, or learn something more about who they are by getting an insight into their day. bluepulse.com is an example of one of the products that does that really, really well.

    Like Mobiluck it started life as something else, but bluepulse is now a "mobile social messaging" product.

    The bluepulse approach of focusing on full functionality from within the mobile browser as well as a downloadable client makes it work on a very broad range of handsets. A unified messaging in/outbox makes it easy to communicate with friends on bluepulse and recruit new friends. Suddenly, adoption goes from, "I could let my friends know about this, but it probably won't work on their phone" to "if my friends what to stay in touch with what i'm doing, using bluepulse is so much cheaper, quicker and easier than SMS."

    You've covered bluepulse before in this blog, though that was some time ago, and focused on the bluepulse widget platform. Check out the latest bluepulse when you get a chance and compare it to the products you've mentioned in this blog post. Would be great to hear what you think.

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