When we think of smartphones and geo-location the two main use cases that come to mind are mapping and check-ins. These are fine and dandy, but what if you could use smartphones to keep tabs of where your child is? Footprints lets you do just that.
The new app (iTunes link), available for both iPhone & iPad, tracks the location of the device and shares it with family and friends. These can then know in real-time a person’s exact location. The app can have several use cases, but the parent/child one seems the most compelling.
What about privacy? With more and more parents shelling out the cash to equip their tweens and teenagers with iPhones, I don’t see why a basic requirement couldn’t be running Footprints in the background. As my father put it when I grew up, our household was run as a totalitarian democracy. Ergo, he buys my iPhone, he gets to run whatever app he likes in the background. Parenting rocks.
Using the app is fairly simple. A quick set-up process and then you just let it run in the background. The app was designed to run efficiently, without draining the battery. Once installed on the device to be tracked, permissions are then given to those individuals that should be able to view its location. A passcode can be put in place to make sure that the app isn’t removed.
Once setup and permissions are given, the location is provided in real time. Movement speed is also provided, so you can get a fairly accurate indication of how fast your kids is driving as well. That’s a nice bonus.
Theoretically, Footprints also has business-case potential. Companies who are subsidizing iPhones for their employees can surely enforce running Footprints in the background (certainly in business hours). Sure, there’s the big brother aspect to it, as in, boss-man making sure employees are where they’re supposed to be. However, I see it more as a potential utility between co-workers, as in, “Hey I see John is out on a customer call”.
Another use-case could be couples, well, ones with trust issues… “Hey sweetie, why were you at the Motel Six right off of Exit 123 for two hours today?” Riveting dinner conversation guaranteed.
Footprints provides users with 60 free days of usage upon registering. Then, an additional 3-month subscription will cost $0.99. A yearly subscription goes for $2.99, or $4.99 for a 2-year subscription.
The app is iOS only for now, but Android support is on the way.