Loopt Embraced by Verizon; Starts to Spread Its Mobile Wings

Loopt, a mobile social network that can be used to see where your friends are currently located, has partnered with Verizon to put its software on that carrier’s phones. It’s a big win for Loopt since Verizon has more location-aware handsets than any other carrier.

If you don’t know anyone who uses Loopt yet, that’s because the company is still working on getting its technology into more phones across more carriers. Loopt’s primary capability, which the company prefers to call “location sharing” (not user tracking), requires the ability to run location detection software, preferably in the background of a phone so it works while in your pocket. Since location detection is a privileged feature for most carriers, Loopt has needed to work with them one-by-one to reach their users.

Verizon joins Sprint Nextel and its subsidiary Boost Mobile in the lineup of carriers who officially support Loopt. Verizon provides not only more handsets that can run Loopt but a better development environment based on BREW as well. This will allow Loopt to integrate its software more closely into the carrier’s 20 supported phones, which include the LG Chocolate, MOTORIZR, Z6tv, and G’zOne Type-S. As a side note, the BlackBerry and iPhone are still not supported on any carrier.

Loopt will cost Verizon users $4/mo. They will be able to find it in the carrier’s “Get It Now” virtual store starting sometime in April.

The Mountain View-based company has raised $17M total over three rounds, including a seed round from Y Combinator. Competitors include uLocate and MapMyTracks, which use GPS instead of cell-tower triangulation.