This incredible app lets you virtually walk your friends home so you know they’re safe

companion app allows you to virtually walk friends home screen shot 2015 09 05 at 11 59 31 am
Friends don’t let friends walk home alone, and now they don’t have to, thanks to an ingenious new app called Companion that is finally addressing the much needed issue of late-night safety, particularly for solo women traversing the streets of campuses and cities alike. Tragic stories like that of Hannah Graham, the UVA student who disappeared almost exactly a year ago, are all too familiar, and now for the first time, technology is taking a concerted stand against such incidents. Companion, which “lets you reach out to family, friends, or your public safety department to have them keep an eye on you as you travel late at night,” is helping grant both men and women the freedom to go where they want, when they want, with a little bit more security.

Developed by five students at the University of Michigan, the free app, available on both iPhone and Android, allows others to keep an eye on you even if they’re not physically by your side. Danny Freed, a senior business student at the University and one of the app’s developers, told local news outlet, “You can use the app with anyone in your contact book and they don’t have to have the app. You punch in the address or place you’re headed and notify one or several friends that you’re headed to that place.” Once your friends are aware of your intended destination, they’re able to keep tabs on your route — if you deviate too far from a familiar path, or it takes you longer than expected to arrive, your virtual companions are notified with an alert.

Freed continued, “The alerts will say something like ‘He’s off route, please check in with him,’ and if you don’t have the app there’s a live link to the Web version so it sends the message through an SMS push notification. If everything does go well and you get to your destination, it’ll automatically send a notification to the other person saying ‘He arrived safely.'” If, however, there’s no response from the weary and wary traveler, or perhaps a real emergency is taking place, Companion sets off alarms on the his or her phone, turning transforming it “into a personal alarm system that projects loud noises to scare criminals from the scene,” and further giving the user the opportunity to call the authorities.

Speaking with IBTimes U.K., Lexie Ernst, another Companion co-founder noted that the app has seen significant success, both at home and abroad. “We’ve had a lot of people outside the U.S. downloading the app,” she said. “Since we launched, we’ve had dozens of emails from people in the U.S., as well as many other countries like the U.K., Belgium, France, and Norway.” Better still, Companion has seen usage from both women and men, as well as people of all different ages.

Ernst continued, “Both men and women from all demographics have emailed us saying they’d love to use the app, lots of parents want to use the app for their children, and some people want their elderly parents to use it too to make sure they don’t get lost.”

It’s a simple idea that goes a long way to establishing not only the semblance, but the actual existence of heightened security for those going from Point A to Point B, a journey that can be fraught with more danger than we’d like to believe. So keep your friends company, guys — you don’t even have to be with them to do it.


Apple iPhone Lightning Dock gets price knocked down to just $39 on Amazon

Apple acolytes are always eager to buy brand-name products, and the Lightning iPhone Dock is a solid option as a desktop charging station. Secure yours now at Amazon for just $39, down from $50.

These are the 20 best Android games you can play offline

Even in our increasingly connected world, you don't always have an internet connection on the go. To help you pass the time when you're disconnected, we compiled a list of the best Android games that can be played offline.

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…

The best iOS games you can play offline on your iPhone and iPad

Even though we're always glued to our phones, we don't always have access to Wi-Fi or have steady service. Whether you're on a flight, riding the bus, or sitting in a waiting room, you can always play these excellent iOS games.
Movies & TV

ESPN Plus is a great sports companion. Here's everything you need to know

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN Plus, arrived in 2018, but it isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways. We answer all of your questions in this guide.

T-Mobile One is being rebranded to Magenta, new users get to keep discounts

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.

Apple iPad and iPad Pros get big discounts for Memorial Day weekend

Apple iPads have been getting a lot of great discounts so far this year, and Memorial Day 2019 proves to be no exception. With prices as low as $249 for newer models, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to pick one up.

Lyft’s wallet-friendly Shared Saver option arrives in six more U.S. cities

Lyft is expanding its wallet-friendly Shared Saver option to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle after launching it earlier this year in Denver, New York City, and San Jose.

Huawei's situation in the U.S. may improve when trade war is resolved

The U.S. Commerce Department has added Huawei to its "Entity List." Google, Intel, and ARM are all confirmed or rumored to be ceasing business with the company, which may have disastrous effects on Huawei.

You can't fool us -- this is definitely the Moschino Honor 20 Pro phone

Honor has launched the Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 at an event that took place in London. The new smartphone is surprisingly compact, with an impressive four-lens camera for taking stunning shots, day or night.

Amazon Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch, Surface Pro, and 4K TV Deals

Amazon is discounting a number of different items. Smartwatches, tablets, 4K TVs, smart home devices, and laptops are all getting discounts to stay competitive with prices from Walmart and Best Buy.

Best Memorial Day sales 2019: Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart drop discounts

If you're looking to save big on some shiny new stuff for Memorial Day 2019, we've gathered everything you need to know into one place. Find out where to save the most money before the summer hits its stride.

The 20 best iPhone SE cases to keep your phone looking like new

Protect your iPhone properly with one of the best iPhone SE cases or covers. That metal-and-glass body is prone to scuffs and scratches, so it pays to buy a decent case. We've got protective and stylish options for you here.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.