Twist eliminates texting while driving with live ETAs on travel time

Twist automated location notifications

Available for the iPhone and coming soon to Android phones, Twist is a smartphone application that allows users to share an estimated time of arrival that’s calculated by a combination of current GPS location data and traffic conditions. Rather than attempting to send a friend or family member a text when in route to a location like a restaurant, Twist will automatically send those people updates on arrival status. Highly useful in congested cities like Los Angeles and New York City, the person watching the arrival time can choose to leave at a later time if their friend is running late.

Twist traffic updateIn addition, Twist doesn’t require that both parties have a smartphone with the application already installed. When a user sets up a new Twist, the recipient is sent a a text message or an email with a link to a page where the estimated time of arrival can be viewed.

If both users do have the Twist application installed on their smartphones, a push notification will appear on the recipient’s smartphone. After registering a profile with Twist, users can setup profile pictures that will also appear on a friend’s smartphone.

When setting up a new Twist, the user has options of sharing the time when they leave a location, the estimated time of arrival as they are driving and when they are approaching their final destination. The user also selects who has access to see this information as well as their method of transport.

The four methods of transport including walking, biking, riding a bus or driving an automobile. In addition, the recipient of a Twist notification isn’t informed about the user’s exact location at the start of the trip. The developers have also included a favorites list that’s ideal for sending notifications to a significant other from a common location every day like the workplace.

In addition to providing an estimated time of arrival for recipients, the application provides a map of the route as well as the current location on the map for the user. When clicking the info tab, the user can get the phone number for the destination location as well as reviews, a Google Maps Streetview screenshot and the current weather data. On the photos tab, the user can take a new photo or choose a current photo to upload; ideal for showing friends a picture of a nasty traffic jam. On the People tab, one tap on the name of a friend that’s receiving the notifications will bring up a menu to call or text the recipient. However, Twist also includes an internal messaging option that’s ideal when the recipient also has Twist installed on their smartphone.

Twist is an interesting application as the developers offer a great deal of accessibility by not requiring the recipient to have already downloaded the application, but seem to have a strong focus on personal privacy. For example, Twist isn’t broadcasting location data all over a social network like Facebook. According to The Verge, Twist co-founder and Google software engineer Mike Belshe left a comment that stated Twist is currently being tested in beta form on the App Store, but expects the final version to be released on Wednesday, July 18.