This sponsored post is produced by Chris Hulls, Co-founder and CEO of Life360.   

There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the world of location sharing.  In the past month, Facebook has unveiled its “Nearby Friends” feature, which allows you to share your location with your entire network and see which friends are nearby, Foursquare unveiled its “Swarm” capability allowing you to check in at specific locations and see if your friends are close, and just this week, Apple revealed a location sharing feature in iMessage.

What we are seeing the emergence of two trends in location: proximity location, which is best suited for friends to see who is nearby, and exact location, something much more powerful for the family. Over the past six years since launching Life360, I’ve seen a number of companies struggle to drive mass-market adoption of both types of technology because they have focused on making location sharing a feature versus an everyday utility.

Yes, we love to share pictures, videos, music, articles, and more with our friends and colleagues via social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. But how many of us want to share our location with everyone in our network?

I think it is safe to say that for most of us, our perception of privacy has not evolved to the point where we are comfortable with everyone in our network being able to watch our every move. That said; there is a small and important group of family and friends for whom location sharing can create an even more powerful form of connection.

The true benefit of location sharing is not in social networks but in the family network, where it becomes an everyday utility for many families. At Life360, we have seen that with the 33 million families on our network, they prefer to share their exact location with their inner circle (family/good friends) and find that much more valuable than broadcasting to contacts across other social channels. Location is sensitive stuff, so trust plays a significant role in whom you share it with, especially when you start to think about the broader implications around the connected home and car.

Using location-sharing technology, we let those in our inner-most circle know where we are at important moments throughout the day, giving families peace of mind that the kids made it to school or our partner arrived safely to work and eliminating the need to text the ever-annoying “Where are you?”

There are larger implications, as well. We can use this type of technology to help families recognize the full potential of this connected world we live in. Location can enable automated events in and around the connected home and even in our cars.

Imagine setting a rule that every time the last member of the family leaves the house, the lights turn off, the thermostat turns down, and the doors lock. In the car, a simple push of a button takes you to Alexia’s soccer practice. No more plugging in directions or scrolling through email to find the correct address. Likewise, you can set triggers that allow certain individuals outside of the family access to your home at specific times of day. Consider the nanny or dog walker scenarios.

Each of these use cases has one crucial element in common: trust.  The power of location is not in the number of friends or followers you have, it is in how you use it to stay connected with the most important people in your life.

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