Mobile

Flockthere tracks your friends; tells you if they’ll be late for dinner

A new location tracking app for Android and iOS called Flockthere has just announced the launch of its public beta.

“My co-founder, Sanjeev and I were determined to start a company and we’d meet at different locations several times per week to talk about our ideas,” Flockthere co-founder Dan Nguyen told VentureBeat in an interview, “When we kept meeting, one of us was always late, usually Sanjeev, and I’d be trying to call or text him when I was waiting. He wouldn’t be able to answer because he’d be driving. We looked for an app to solve this problem, but didn’t find anything, so we created Flockthere.”

It’s a common scenario: You make plans to go to a restaurant with a group of friends for dinner and tell everyone to get there at eight. A few friends show up early, a couple more arrive right on time, and there are always a few stragglers who are lagging behind or get caught in traffic. Usually you make a few phone calls and send a few texts to wrangle everyone together.

If Flockthere has its way, you won’t need to text or call your friends. Instead, you can see their phone’s GPS location with the company’s mobile app. Flockthere lets you create a group of friends or family — also know as a “flock” — by entering their phone numbers or email adresses. You can then track each person’s movements en route to a specific location, such as a restaurant or event center. Once you create a group, those you’ve invited must elect to share their location with you through the app. Flockthere covers all of the bases by providing a browser version for those who don’t have the app installed.

Flockthere also includes group text messaging, so the entire group can get updates at once. Each person in the flock can also choose to stop updating their location, so no one else can see where they are.

Nguyen tells me that the app’s accuracy depends on a phone’s GPS capabilities. Flockthere also relies on WiFi networks and your cell ID to track your location. If you loose a signal while in a flock, the app will update your location as soon as you regain cell coverage.

Flockthere’s biggest competitor is Apple’s Find My Friends, a very similar location tracking app. Between Flockthere and Find My Friends, the functionality is almost identical, though Find My Friends doesn’t have group messaging. The company is hoping to set itself apart by offering location tracking on Android, iOS, and nearly every mobile browser, not just iOS.

Location based apps can undoubtedly cause privacy concerns. Apps like Flockthere and Find My Friends can be helpful tools, but they also follow a trend of revealing a lot of information about ourselves online. Flockthere says that it doesn’t store any information about your flocks, nor can your location information be compromised.

The company launched its alpha version in November 2011, and was in the iTunes in December 2011. The company has been bootstrapped so far.

[Top image credit: xpixel/Shutterstock]

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