When I first moved into my neighborhood, I’d scribble down the names of neighbors on a scrap piece of paper so the next time I’d meet them on a stroll I could refer to them by name. It was a flawed strategy, however, since I never carried the paper with me and I frequently lost it. (I have no idea where it is at this point).

Now, thanks to an upgrade to the Whitepages’ iPhone app, that will never be a worry again. The Seattle company, which has already recorded more than 17 million mobile downloads, is rolling out new features that allow users to locate the names, addresses and phone numbers of neighbors. You can think of it a bit like Highlight or Glancee, but for those people living nearby. It also allows you to find nearby businesses.

Bret Moore, general manager of mobile at WhitePages, called it a “powerful upgrade” since it allows people to “discover and connect with both people and stores nearby or explore a new city or destination.

WhitePages has a solid base to work from with more than 200 million residential listings and 30 million neighborhood businesses. Its Web site attracts about 28 million unique visitors per month.

The app is free to install, with WhitePages making money from add-on services and advertising. For example, when I searched for nearby businesses, two sponsored listings were returned as the top results. You also can save listings in a group in your phone contact list — say the neighbors who have agreed to watch your pets — for a $1.99 upgrade.

I’ve been playing around with the new version this morning, and it’s done a decent job of identifying some of my neighbors. (I noticed that the neighbors who live on either side of me — a couple that moved in about two years ago and a couple of renters — are not identified).

Nonetheless, I could see myself busting this out on my next dog walk as I try to identify those folks who live on my street.

Here’s a short video demo from the company showcasing the functionality of the app:

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