Hot Topic: GPS Based Apps
GPS-based apps are changing the way people are interacting–taking the traditional real-world meeting or just “hanging-out” and marrying that to the social networking trend.
With new social networking, we have seen the connectedness of people grow but this trend has lacked the personal, in-person interaction that humans crave. It is just too hard for most people to feel like they have a real relationship with someone they can’t get together in-person with.
Yet at the same time, social sites such as Facebook have allowed for people to re-connect with people who they don’t normally run into at the grocery store, the gym or work. Many a long-lost friendship has rekindled because of the Facebook or Twitter and application developers have taken notice.
New sites are now capitalizing on this uber-connectedness and promoting GPS-based posts. “I am at Starbucks” or “Meghan just checked in at …” These posts can easily be made from the popular and prolific mobile phones with a quick software download. From these sites people can see where their friends are, and meet there or have an impromptu group gathering.
Location-based apps are made especially for cities, where it is easy to get together. Foursquare informs you of friends’ whereabouts and about your immediate surroundings, from restaurants to cultural highlights.
GPS-based networking can be convenient and connective, but it also raises new social etiquette questions. It would not be appropriate to join and ex-boyfriend on his date, or swing by your husband’s business meeting for example. Knowledge of someone’s whereabouts is not necessarily an invitation! However, if you were visiting the town you grew up in, it may be fun to see where your old classmates where that day.
Proper manners in these cases would be to send a quick text saying you are in the neighborhood and ask if they would be up for company–if not, you need to respect that not every situation will allow for spontaneous gathering!
Here are some of the most popular mobile applications that track you and your friends:
Foursquare –This NYC-developed application is similar to a game: Users check in when they visit their favorite places and earn badges and mayorships.
Flirtomatic – the mobile flirting network with over 4 million members, launched a new iPhone app that uses GPS and Google Maps to let members time-travel to flirt with others by location.
Google’s official Latitude iPhone app — is now live on the App Store. Google launched Latitude in early 2009 as a way to easily keep track of your friends’ locations in real-time. -
WeePlaces – a service which visually maps your check-ins on location-based services, has integrated with Gowalla and Facebook, giving users the ability to see where they’ve announced their location to friends across Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places.
Loopt — Loopt lets users see where their friends are and what they are doing via detailed interactive maps.
Brightkite — Brightkite also lets users check in at places, allowing them to see who is nearby and who has checked in.
Like all new technology trends this one is hot right now, but it will be interesting to see where it goes. However, trendy or not, the benefits of GPS tracking can be great, especially when it comes to business. Imagine knowing where all of your sales staff is? Or meeting a huge group of people in an unfamiliar city? Mobile technology and GPS tracking will have a dramatic affect on our personal lives for sure–and the benefit for business is nearly limitless!