New phone applications that let users track their friends have been predicted to be a thing of the future.

Programs such as Foursquare and Gowalla allow a group of friends to know each other’s whereabouts at that moment and even meet face to face.

Chief executive and founder of the social media site Mashable.com, Pete Cashmore, reckons the new technology will pave the way for more personal interaction.

“We have a situation where people want to feel connected - and make connections - even when not at their computers,” the Age quoted him as saying. “[It’s] the serendipity of realising that your best friend is in a bar two blocks away, or multiple check-ins at a single location suggesting that’s the place to be on a particular night,” he added.

One user Anika Magee, 26, said: “Foursquare lets me connect with people when I’m out, and tap into their venue and food suggestions. I also use the ‘tips’ feature, to see what other people have recommended in the area.” “It’s made it easier to connect and meet up with friends when out, so I guess it’s a bit more organic or spontaneous, but I wouldn’t say I’ve seen a massive impact yet on the way I socialise.” Ross Monaghan, an information technology lecturer at Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts, commented: “There will always be the nay-sayers but the success and the number of people using these applications are proof that people are really embracing this.”

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