To coincide with the release of iOS5 on October 12th, Apple released several new optional apps for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. One of these apps is Find My Friends, which claims to be a handy tool for locating friends and family by making use of their GPS and A-GPS functionality.
The new app has been met with mixed reviews – with many claiming the app could simply be used as a stalker’s tool in the wrong hands.
However, I happen to think that the app is a very clever idea – with many not-seen-before features that make the app a safe, unobtrusive yet helpful way of keeping track of friends and family.
First of all, the app is completely opt-in only. This means that people can only track you with full permission granted by you – meaning nobody can publicly see where you are.
You can either invite people to permanent access to your location, or temporary “event” access which gives people access to your location for a set date and time. This means, for example, that if you’re meeting somebody at a festival, you can give them temporary access which terminates when the festival is over.
Also, you can quite easily turn off the app’s location tracking if you’re going somewhere you’d rather other people didn’t know about – simply by switching on ‘Hide from Followers” in the Me tab – making it easy to hide personal places. Whilst I’d quite like it to have a function where you could tell it not to report specific places, I’m sure this could eventually be possible.
Overall, I think this is an improvement on many previous tracking apps that have been released – and could seen as very useful to many.