Want to see what your friends and family are up to? Here are six ways to follow people you’re interested in. You can use these tools to find out where your friends are located and what they are doing, keep track of your family members, share where you’re at, and discover interesting places around your location.
Note: Be sure to check how these applications will work with your specific phone and usage plan. Standard data and messaging charges from your carrier will most likely apply.
Foursquare enables users to find what’s interesting around them, based on the recommendations of friends, family, and colleagues. Download the app to your cell phone, connect with friends via various social networking sites and email address books, and you’ll be able to instantly see what your friends are doing. Once you start “checking in” to Foursquare locations (automatically done via GPS technology), you can leave tips on places you like or dislike, send messages to friends in the area, and earn badges based on your activity level.
Twitter is a great source for looking up where content is coming from, either from a specific person (if they have enabled location tracking) or from a group of people. You can use Twitter Advanced Search to track down all tweets in a specific area. This is especially useful when you’re looking up breaking news information; for example, say you wanted to see the latest data on a recent earthquake in Chile, or you wanted to get the latest score of your community baseball team. Want to get even more specific? Use a service like NASA Latitude and Longitude Finder to plug in an address and search for those coordinates.
Facebook Places gives you the ability to see who is checked in somewhere if they’ve added their location to their status updates. You can find out who is where by this information, and see who else is there if they’ve been tagged in a from the info page:
“Place tips show you more info about places you visit, including your friends’ photos, experiences and moments from that place.
Your location is determined using cellular networks, Wi-Fi, GPS and Facebook Bluetooth® beacons. Viewing place tips doesn’t post on Facebook or show people where you are.”
Swarm allows you to share your location with family and friends via a mobile app. Users can check in to their favorite places, see who’s close by, and meet up with people right within the app. Swarm also allows you to see who is nearby and send them a message. In addition, Swarm doesn’t necessarily rely on people checking in; you can get a general neighborhood idea of where people are at any given time, just by using the app and viewing who is currently online.
Waze is a location-based app that can pinpoint a user’s location quite accurately. More about this tool: “After typing in their destination address, users just drive with the app open on their phone to passively contribute traffic and other road data, but they can also take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other hazards along the way, helping to give other users in the area a ‘heads-up’ about what’s to come.”
Instagram gives users the ability to see what other people are doing – where they’re going, what they might be up to, etc. Most profiles are public (unless set to private, and then users must request permission to see what that person is posting), which gives anyone the chance to view any images that that particular user might be posting on a regular basis. Most Instagram accounts focus on the daily happenings of life, with pictures that are geo-tagged with the event location. This gives users an instant snapshot of where their friends and family might be; however, not all images are posted in real-time, so it’s not a fail-safe process to track where people might be. Nevertheless, Instagram is a fantastic way to follow what people are doing purely in images.