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This article was published on August 5, 2008, GPS-based social networking, GPS-based social networking
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Business development manager in Shanghai, always up to play with shiny gadgets, firecrackers or eat Shabu shabu. (Japanese hotpot)         Business development manager in Shanghai, always up to play with shiny gadgets, firecrackers or eat Shabu shabu. (Japanese hotpot)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Check out                                                                                                                               • Got Twitter? ♥ -> @Joop

Five Questions for Start-upsEvery week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views.

This time we’re interviewing Diego Fernández Domínguez, the co-founder of Ipoki lets you get the most of your GPS by connecting you with others to share geolocation information. Ipoki lets you share your current location with others in real-time. Also, you can see where your friends are and track them on Google Maps and Google Earth. Ipoki lets you keep track of your routes and use it to geolocate photos in flickr automatically. Invite your friends to see where you are and find and follow them across the world.

How did you come up with the idea of your Ipoki?

Question number“We started to work on Ipoki when the firsts GPS-enabled mobile-phones were put on the market. We notice that there were some services on the market about geolocation without its democratic internet version (open and free).
First, we started creating some location based services like put and get alerts fro users around specific places, but then we realize that we need to add social features to our services if we want to make it really massive, opened and easy for every possible internet user.
So, we decided to create a social network based on location sharing. People share photos, videos and a lot of things over the internet and we think that it would be very interesting to share your location in real-time with accuracy, like some pay-services plus social features.
Finally, we have added new services to our social network like integrations with Twitter, Flickr or Facebook.”

What was your biggest challenge during the development process?

Question number “We have developed an application for multiple mobile devices. This kind of development is hard because every mobile platform is different. So, you have to think before if you have enough resources to start and maintain this kind of development. To enforce this, our mobile software is open source and we accept any help to aim every mobile device with GPS work with Ipoki.
Also we developed a public API so people that want to use very costumed devices can also integrate and share positions through Ipoki website and then benefit from using Ipoki server-side technology.
So, the lesson learned here was that you don’t need to create everything inside your project, but if you develop your project opened to integrations with other LBS projects, services, networks, and devices, then automatically you are increasing your “network value” and your users will also benefit from this and reward to you.”

Can you describe the Spanish start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?

Question number“Our country is very different from Silicon Valley. We are based in Spain and there is no place in Spain with the same culture and opportunities. We have less resources available and we are geographically far from the state of the art of the technology. But we have some advantages like the language (we usually reach first the Spanish language market) and less competitors in our near-shore market. In Europe there are also very interesting start-ups and there is a lot of people with initiative to start a web project.
In the “virtual” side of Internet we are at the same distance (one click) and all the projects have an opportunity wherever they are. In the “physical” side of start-ups the difference is that we need to search more and invest more efforts to find people that trust in our project.”

What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?

Question number“I think we work with very cutting edge technology, in an early stage. Today every cell phone has a camera. In the future they also will have a GPS build-in and low cost internet access. Location-based services and social networks could be the next generation of social services in Internet.
We think we are going to be on one of those little links that compose the chain that will join the physical with the virtual in the next web.”

Have you launched any new feature recently?

Question number“We have launched a new integration with to share your location in realtime and send livevideo with your mobile devices, all at the same time.” (read more)

You can see a demo here, it’s very cool!