Location apps to find your place in the world

11Location sharing apps are hot right now as more mobile users are now willing to give up some privacy to gain the convenience and benefits of sharing their exact locations with friends and family. All the apps require explicit permissions to share and report your location. What it does in the background is anyone’s guess. Location sharing apps differ in their approach so see what works best for you and decide. None of the apps interoperate with the others so your deciding factor may be what your circle of friends are already using.

  • Google Latitude, available as an iOS app and built into Android, is fully integrated with Google Maps allowing real-time location sharing with your friends and checks ins. A private feature to track location history allows users to track time spent at Home, Work, and other locations. It also features typical map overlays such as traffic, terrain, transit lines, and satellite. But to use Latitude effectively, your friends need to be on Latitude as well.
  • Recently updated iOS app Twist (not size optimized for iPad) does not require recipients to install any apps to see your location info. Twist is more of an arrival time estimator app than a real-time location app. Users enter their destination and the emails and/or phone numbers of their intended recipients. Twist notifies the recipients upon departure, 1/2 way mark, and just before arrival by email or text. It answers the age-old question “when is he/she going to get here?”. Twist for Android is in development.
  • Waze, available for Android and iOS, is a driving centric app which provide a plethora of driving information such as traffic jams, hazards, accidents, speed traps, gas stations, and more. Content is user-generated. Users can report speed traps, gas prices, traffic cameras, and more. Traffic speed is calculated by users keeping the app open while driving.
  • Glympse, available for Android and iOS, is a limited location share app which do not require recipients to install any apps. Similar to Twist, Glympse shares your location for a pre-specified time to recipients you choose by sms, email, or text.
  • Find My Friends, available for Android and iOS, searches your contact list and shows the locations of your contacts on a map.It allows you to request your friends’ location. Since most people’s address book is out of date, the locations of their address on a map is of little use and just adds clutter to the map.
  • Glassmap is a new entry to the location sharing apps arena. It’s similar to Find My Friends and some claim it’s better. It’s available for Android and iOS.