We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (and again and again): location apps are a weird bunch. It’s a segment of the social networking world that isn’t sure who it’s most appealing to, fraught with privacy concerns, and containing information that it’s not quite certain how to leverage. It’s led to a myriad of contenders that have tried (and failed) to take the throne that Foursquare still so firmly sits upon.
Even though Foursquare is the most popular of the location apps, its age is showing and new trends are starting to surface — chief among them being the seamless check-in. If you haven’t already heard of it (or an app using this idea), it’s basically a way to more naturally use your location to show who’s nearby, or what deals can be found. And it does it using your GPS data without any action from you.
Now there are two big, glaring problem with this: privacy and your phone battery. Privacy is something you have to deal with on your own terms: if you’re hyper-vigilant, you’ll be steering clear of location apps altogether — it’s something that no app, despite what its policies and protections claim, can ease your mind about. It’s your own comfort level, so either engage with social-local apps or don’t.
But if you like the idea of these emerging apps, the real culprit keeping you from using them much is battery life. These apps need to constantly have access to your location information, and that will kill your phone faster than you can check-in around the corner and claim your free coffee. Fortunately, solutions are fast-coming and everyone’s trying to solve this problem, including Geoloqi.
The consumer-focused location app launched in late 2010, but it has since become a fully functioning platform for developers to use when building their own location-based services. “Geoloqi offers a complete stack of geolocation tools, including geo-fencing, messaging, security and analytics, that empowers the enterprise, government and developers to unlock the full potential of real-time location-based services and easily layer geolocation onto any device or application,” the company announced today.
It’s a big undertaking, and Geoloqi clearly sees location moving far beyond the basics we’re currently operating with. In addition, it’s been busy working on battery life. “The Geoloqi SDK enables accurate, customizable geofencing, auto check-ins, and automatically manages a device’s battery life while using location, so users can run the app all day without significant battery daring.” And that fact that it plans to offer up this technology for other developers means that a fleet of battery-saving, more immersive location apps could hit in the foreseeable future.
For a long time, it’s felt to us like social-local apps are playing catch-up with their users. We’re on board with the basis of the idea, but from the moment they became available it seemed like we soon hit a wall. Instead of releasing individual app after app (which usually incurs more hype and initial excitement), we need the platform itself to evolve a little faster. Seamless apps thus far have been rife with problems, and while it’s been fun to download them, check out the new and exciting things they offer while simultaneously ripping them apart for what they don’t, it’d be even better to experience this innovative idea without compromising.