On Mar 22, Google announced that users of Google Maps can share their trips and real-time location with friends when on the way. Then on Mar 27, Facebook announced that users of Facebook Messenger can share their live location with friends to make meeting up easier and safer. The news from Google and Facebook comes hot on the heels of the Feb 3 news story that Whatsapp has been testing real-time location sharing. Apple has had Find My Friends app packaged into iOS 9 and later since September 2015 so iPhone users can share live location with their friends.
Uber was really the first product to push the envelope on live location, using it for assigning rides to drivers, tracking the rides with ETAs for pickups, metering rides when on a trip and sharing location with friends when on the way. Back at base, Uber has the infamous god-views where every ride around the world can be viewed and analyzed, along with the famous heat maps of supply and demand that act in anticipation to generate more business. This inspired the Uber-for-X economy and the Uberization of traditional businesses to use smartphone location beyond just geotagging and geofencing. Any business with people and things on the move saw how they could improve customer experience and business efficiency using live location.
With the past week’s announcements, the most used consumer products of the world – Apple, Google, Facebook, Whatsapp and WeChat – have now built live location features into their mainstream products. Our collective imagination about live location features in consumer products has now expanded. I believe the next generation of location-based services is here. More users will now share their live location as default behavior in their lives, more developers will now build live location features into their apps and look for easy ways to do so, and more businesses will now rely on this data to understand their users and serve them better.
HyperTrack exists to make it easy for developers to build live location features in their products. Developers can build features like live location sharing in their products within a few hours of work, something that would otherwise take months of effort. In order to build simple location features, developers end up building infrastructure at three places – device, cloud and maps. With HyperTrack, you plug in a lightweight SDK into the app, then write a few lines of code on your favorite platform to make the features come alive. This way, you can focus on your core with all the control and none of the hassle.
A Mumbai-based messenger product echo plans started using us in September 2016 so friends with plans to meet up could share live location when messaging with each other on the way. To dog food our own technology, we created HyperTrack Live (on App Store and Play Store) where users could share live location when on the way to meet. Even as we are in early Beta, we have seen sign-ups from a range of consumer apps. Messengers, social networks, marketplaces, e-commerce, travel and consumer services at large want to build live location features into their product experiences. Our exciting journey just got a bit more tail wind. Get on the ride with us. Sign up with HyperTrack and give it a spin.