Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

Summary: Apple's new Find My Friends app is like a mashup of Google Latitude and Foursquare radar. It should be a hit with students and 20-somethings, but I'm not so sure about married folks.

TOPICS: Mobile OS, Apple

Yesterday I blogged about two of Apple's new iOS 5 apps: Trailers and Cards and today I wanted to take a look at its third: Find My Friends (App Store, free). Find My Friends is the Apple equivalent of location-based services like Google Latitude mashed up with the radar feature in the latest foursquare app.

It works like this: add friends in the app, and they receive an email asking them to opt into sharing their location information with you. If they do, you'll see their location in your All Friends page (pictured). You can even see your friend's locations neatly plotted on a map (below) by clicking on the All Friends button.

As you'd expect the service is completely opt-in, meaning that the recipient must agree to share their location with the requester. Sorry stalkers, no following random people that don't know you.

Besides the social implications of always knowing where your friends are, or tracking down local buddies when you're out on the town, I'm not really sure of what to make of this app. Apple trots out a few other use cases, including meeting friends at an outdoor concert, keeping track of the family on the ski slopes and seeing when your out-of-town guest has made it past baggage claim.

One of the most interesting aspects of Find My Friends is its temporary feature. This allows you to request permission for a friend's location for a finite period of time, like one hour or one week. This actually makes a lot of sense for a weekend camping trip or a day at the amusement park. When the trip is over, the sharing ends, too. One example that Apple has used is of someone hosting a party and requesting all the attendees locations temporarily so that he could make sure that they found his house ok. Now that's pretty cool.

I guess that someone that actively uses existing social-location services might adopt an Apple-branded equivalent, but I'm not sure that it's something that I would use. Truthfully, I've only had one person accept my FMF invitation so far (Thanks Parkemon!), so I haven't exactly been able to put the service through its paces. Maybe I'll come around, but Find My Friends is really more for 20-somethings than it is for people that are married with kids.

Find My Friends iOS app - Beach - Jason O'Grady

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple

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  • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

    "...than it is for people that are married with kids."

    Eh, maybe, maybe not. I foresee a lot of parents wanting to utilize this. I know my mother wishes she could just put a leash on my little sister. Parents would probably use it just as much as the 20 somethings.
    • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

      @Aerowind <br><br>I agree... I also like that they receive a notification and can opt in or out. Of course parents would have to send it and do the opting for the kids. The question is how fast will the kids delete the app. I know I would use it for my kids if I had any and if they didn't like it then they do not need a phone unless they get a job and pay for it themselves.

      Of course I am not a fan that you have to have an iCloud account.
      • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

        If they set up the parental controls right, the kids cannot delete the app or end the sharing.
      • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

        @bobiroc Eh, I don't really see deleting the app as a problem unless you're a bum parent in the first place. Just require them to have it or restrict them from doing or going any place.
  • The only way I see this being useful, is...

    <I>"Maybe Ill come around, but Find My Friends is really more for 20-somethings than it is for people that are married with kids."</I><br><br>Is for families to keep track of each other. That way you know where everyone is (In theory) and that Bobby and Susie are where they say they are, and not off..... well. You get the idea.<br><br>Otherwise, this app is just plain creepy. If I want to know where you are, I'll call or text and tell you where I am.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Kind of creepy .... but I see a value

    You say it is 20-something that will use this, but it is PARENTS that will probably popularize this product.

    Can't you see parents checking on their kids with it?
  • Use a cellular evidence isolation bag

    Better, use one inside another.
  • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

    Creepy. Wait until someone writes a rogue app that takes advantage of this feature. A stalker keeping tabs on his ex-girlfriend.
    • **Not** creepy since it is turned off by default and can be turned on not

      @LoverockDavidson_: ... constantly, but rather for a chosen period of time.
  • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

    The only people I can see wanting to use this is parents. otherwise, it's kind of creepy.

    Of course, parents will like it until they found out that their teenager "accidentally" left their phone at someone else's house, turned the phone off, or let the batt drain down

    ...all while the teen was somewhere they weren't supposed to be.
    • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

      @chmod 777 - Even parents will know something's up if the iPhone hasn't moved between the hours of 7 and 10. The aGPS tracking is good enough in mine, at least, that it knows when I'm on one end of the house or the other.
    • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

      @chmod 777
      Good point.
      When that happens for the second time hopefully the phone will get taken away for a couple of weeks to reinforce the consequences of "accidents".
  • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

    Full disclosure: I am the Community Manager for Life360

    Think about the daily micro-communications you have with friends and family everyday like "Are you on your way?" or "Where are you at now?" When people use Life360's family safety app on Android in particular, we're seeing constant location check-ins between parents and kids and husbands and wives. As iPhone owners explore everything that iOS5 offers, it will be interesting to see how they use the Find My Friends app.
  • useless unless you are st....

    maybe parents need to be real parents (what did they do before this and mobile phones?) and get involved with their kids rather than spy on them. In any case parents who need this will be amazed at how clever their kids are. Wake up mom and dad and spend times with the rug rats. You might like it!
    As for myslef, I really do not need others to know where I am.
  • RE: Find My Friends: creepy or cool?

    Be a real mom and dad and you won't need this 'feature'
    • hear, hear (+1)


      If you trust your kids, & they've shown themselves to be trustworthy, you don't need the app.

      If you don't trust your kids -- whether they've been untrustworthy or not in the past -- they'll find a way around it:
      -- leave it in their room
      -- leave it at a friend's house
      -- turn it off or remove the SIM card
      -- turn off the GPS function in the phone
      -- figure out your password so they can disable the app
      -- etc.
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  • How about History?

    I wonder if it will "playback" history from a previous time stamp, that's even more interesting than just "where are they now", more interesting is "where were they 2 hours ago" or "do you know where your kid was at 10am last night"?
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