Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stalking the Car Next to You

by Richard Read

So there you are, puttering along, minding your own business, when some hottie rolls up beside you, gives a long, lingering glance, then zips down the road. Finding that gal or guy used to mean posting a "Missed Connections" ad in your local paper, which seemed sad and desperate and potentially embarrassing. Now there's a much faster way of getting in touch by sending a message directly to his/her license plate via Bump.com.

The concept is pretty simple: visit Bump.com, enter your license plate and contact info, and then, as the video says, "prepare to bump and be bumped". (Har.) Bump.com is essentially another social network, just like the Weeels app we mentioned yesterday. (Which was also a great way to meet strangers. Hmm. We smell a theme.) Bump, however, has the added advantage of linking with Facebook and Twitter, meaning that when someone "bumps" you, you'll get a message on those networks instead of having to log directly into Bump.com.

But lest we give the wrong impression, Bump.com isn't just about stalking cuties during your commute or invading other people's privacy. There are also practical, less creepy applications, like telling someone that his car alarm is going off, letting him know he's left his headlights on, or reaming him for leaving his dog in the car -- one of our biggest pet peeves (no pun intended). Businesses stand to benefit, too: drive-through pharmacies, for example, could install scanners to read your license plate, find your file, and have your prescription ready to go by the time you hit the window. There's a host of those sorts of videos and instructional clips on the site's "How To" page.

The Bigger Picture

Bump.com pushes two rapidly growing trends further toward the mainstream: geolocation and in-car connectivity. Every other mobile app makes use of the first; like it or not, geolocation is already allowing people and businesses to track us in real time. As for connectivity: while Bump.com isn't the same as having a wifi router embedded in your dashboard, it's one more brick knocked from the wall that used to separate drivers from the web. Between services like this and in-car apps and a full range of telematics systems, cars are no longer the internet-free safe rooms they once were.

original article here

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