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How to Trace the Location of a Cell Phone: 6 Apps, Sites, and Tools


Today's smartphones can do a lot more things other than make and receive calls. Here are sixways to trace a mobile phone location on the Web. You can use these tools to find out where your friends are located and what they are doing, keep track of your family members, share where you're at, and discover interesting places around your location.

Note: Be sure to check how these applications will work with your specific phone and usage plan. Standard data and messaging charges from your carrier will most likely apply.

1. Foursquare

Foursquare logo
www.foursquare.com/Foursquare Labs, Inc./Public Domain
Foursquare enables users to find what's interesting around them, based on the recommendations of friends, family, and colleagues. Download the app to your cell phone, connect with friends via various social networking sites and email address books, and you'll be able to instantly see what your friends are doing. Once you start "checking in" to Foursquare locations (automatically done via GPS technology), you can leave tips on places you like or dislike, send messages to friends in the area, and earn badges based on your activity level.

2. Gowalla

Gowalla gives you the chance to connect with people you already know from Facebook and Twitter, share your favorite places and recommendations with them, and score rewards, deals, and coupons from local businesses simply by being a registered Gowalla user. You can earn stamps for your Gowalla "Passport" by checking in, see what photos your friends are sharing, and explore places recommended by both friends and organizations such as National Geographic, CNN, and Disney.

3. Loopt

Loopt is a simple, free application that you can download to your phone. Once you've got it up and running, Loopt can show you where your friends are and what they're doing (they'll have to have Loopt as well). You can also use Loopt to view and upload reviews of local establishments, as well as take advantage of coupons and online deals you can only find within Loopt itself.

4. BrightKite

BrightKite is a free location-based social networking tool. You can use BrightKite to post your location, track where people are, and see what might be going on in your neck of the woods. In addition, BrightKite offers unlimited group texting with multiple friends (up to 25 at once) in various locations. Brightkite works online, on smartphones, within text messaging, and on the mobile web.

5. Plazes

Plazes is a free application for tracing mobile phone locations via geo-tagging. You can use Plazes to stay connected with friends and family, or you can use Plazes to see what's happening in your local area. Plazes works via your desktop, a smartphone, text messaging, and even as a piggyback service on other sites (Facebook, Yahoo's Fire Eagle, and within blog widgets).

6. Fire Eagle

fire eagle
Yahoo's Fire Eagle is a free application; you can use it to send and receive updates, track your friends, and see what's going on. In addition, Fire Eagle has some great privacy settings that allow you to dictate exactly what you want to share with other people, as well as automatic and manual update settings.

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