There are quite a few location-based iPhone apps rolling out in the iTunes App Store these days, and its hard to know which will be right for your needs. For many apps, a test run is out of the question until you’ve completed a complicated profile, registered for yet another site or crafted a network of contacts. Not so with the free Echoecho iPhone app.
After downloading and installing the free service, Echoecho asks you for your phone number for device verification and then sends an email with a PIN. If you read the email on your iPhone (Echoecho is not compatible with iPod Touch) you can verify the iPhone app automatically or simply type in your given PIN. Echoecho then uses your iPhone’s existing address book as your social network—working on the (correct) assumption that most people you’d want to locate will be in your phone book.
Once you’ve selected a contact, Echoecho will send a push notification or, if your friend doesn’t have Echoecho installed, a text message that you are using the service to find them, along with a link to install the iPhone app. You’ll get a push notification of their reply and will then be able to see their location (along with yours) on a map.
I’m a big fan of Echoecho’s simplicity, quick response time and, in my case anyway, accuracy. I also love that Echoecho isn’t exclusive to friends with iPhones—it offers support for Android, Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile as well.