Automotive App of the Week: Plateside for iPhone


Social networking is coming to cars via Ford Sync and GM's OnStar, but as a motorhead you're probably more interested in scoping out that sweet ride next to you on the freeway rather than sending a silly tweet about sitting in traffic. And you're likely more interested in finding out about that vintage Ferrari you spot in the parking lot than telling all your Facebook friends what you ate for lunch.

Plateside is a free iPhone app that seeks to create a social network for auto enthusiasts based on collecting license plate info. If you see a cool car, cute driver, sick wheels or a vanity plate you can't decipher, you can send a message to the owner using the license plate as the address.

Of course, they won't get the message unless they also use Plateside. So the app won't fully gain traction until more people start using it — and the developer makes it available for more than just the iPhone. But maybe the best incentive for joining is to find out what others on the road think about your car and your driving.

While the developer says that the app can be used to "yell" at Failed Drivers like other apps — or to tell someone to get the hell out of your parking space — it's being promoted as a positive social community." And in case you can't wait for Ford, GM and other automakers to add social networking to the dashboard, Plateside lets you send status updates to Facebook and Twitter from within the app.

But the developer warns that it's not safe to use a mobile device behind the wheel, and even states that its "business plan depends, in large part, on our members staying alive."