Loopt released a new version of its iPhone app that lets users automatically update their exact location as they move.
The new app coincides with the release of iOS 4, Apple’s new mobile operating system that supports limited multitasking. Whenever Loopt users manually update their location, they will have the option to turn on continuous updating for a set number of hours. Users can then leave the app, and have their locations shared with friends as they move around without having to relaunch and check-in. You can set who can see your continuously updated location, restricting that information to a select subset of friends.
The new app also sends push notifications when you happen to be within a few blocks of one of your friends (assuming that friend is also continuously updating their location).
Since iOS only sends updates when your location changes, the new feature shouldn’t be much of a battery drain unless you are on the move.
The new feature comes on the heels of Loopt’s release of a new app, Loopt Star, which is focused on check-ins and rewards for consumers. For now, continuous updating will only be available on the core Loopt app. Loopt will become more of a purely social app that tells people where their friends are in pure geo terms, while Loopt Star works more on a Foursquare model, focusing on check-ins to specific venues and rewards for those check-ins.
While users will only be alerted when they are near friends for now, this technology could easily be used to realise the long discussed scenario in which users get push notifications of deals as they walk by the relevant storefront. Since this is all new — and potentially worrying — ground for users, all of the major location-based services are taking their time making that a reality.