Web sites like MySpace and Friendster have gained popularity by giving the online generation a way to connect. Now the mobile phone industry wants to tap into that success.

In a partnership that could herald a new era in social networking, Palo Alto start-up loopt plans to launch a new service today with Boost Mobile, one of the nation's biggest youth-oriented wireless phone companies. Boost's 3.8 million customers - who are mostly under 25 - will be able to create groups of friends and keep track of them using a combination of text messaging, pictures and the GPS technology embedded in most new mobile phones today.

"Historically, that MySpace generation has been connected to the personal computer and the personal computer only,'' said James Brehm, wireless analyst with Frost & Sullivan. ``This is the next step and it's a giant leap - it allows you to do it on the move.'

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