Google integrates Dodgeball, but you still have say where you are

Google has started asking users of its mobile social networking site, Dodgeball, to start using a Google account sign-on, Web designer Chris Messina noticed.

Dodgeball, you’ll recall, is the company that lets you send friends a text message telling them which bar or restaurant you are crashing, so you can meet up if they are close.

However, that’s a lot of hassle — to message Google with your whereabouts every time you move, only to have Google make your presence known to your friends. And then when those friends move, you get blasted with yet another SMS (and knowing Google, it’ll probably be filled with ads soon).

This is what Dodgeball’s homepage tells you, below:

But why not let your friends know where you are automatically, without having to email Google? Indeed, that’s what Palo Alto start-up Loopt lets you do. Granted, you have to sign up with Sprint/Nextel’s Boost provider, but that carrier relationship gives Loopt your location automatically — so that it can show your friends where you are with a simple pin on a map — without you going through the hassle of letting them know. And if you want to hide from them, it lets you do that too. And if your friends move to another bar, you don’t get spammed every time.

Indeed, Loopt has a nice little answer to Dodgeball, on its Web site.

Chris sounded a little miffed about the Dodgeball password change, suggesting he was being shanghaied into Google’s universe of other services. At least there are alternatives.