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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Silicon Alley Insider reports that the location-based social networking service Loopt has struck a deal with AT&T that will permit the service to monitor a user's location (with their permission) in the background.
Via a deal with AT&T, and with your permission, Loopt will be able to access your location all the time you have a network connection, even when you're not actively using the iPhone app. (The app isn't running in the background; it's working server-to-server.) Loopt cofounder and CEO Sam Altman tells us that it's been users' most requested feature.
Loopt, which was highlighted at the App Store launch at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2008, allows users to track the locations of their friends and offers several related social networking features. But until now, Loopt and other similar services such as Google Latitude have required iPhone users to be actively using their applications to locate other users. Despite the fact that Loopt currently only updates a user's location every 1-2 hours, implementation of an "always-on" location tracking service will lead to more useful tracking of friends and development of additional location-based features as the technology continues to develop.
Always-on, real-time location information is critical for the future of location services, Altman tells us. You'll be able to get alerts when you're near a person or place you're interested in, for example. You can build a "life graph" of all the places you've gone, he adds. (Maybe a running map?) And -- Altman doesn't say this, but we're making the next logical step, here -- this opens the door to easier location-based advertising, promotions, etc.
Loopt is offering a free 14-day trial of the background service for 5,000 users. Always-on service beyond the initial trial period will cost $3.99 per month and will appear on users AT&T bills.

Article Link: Loopt to Become First Third-Party iPhone Service to Run in Background
 

SirOmega

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2006
704
2
Las Vegas
But its not running in the background.

Its taking cell positional data from AT&T's systems and sending it over to loopt. The iPhone app is not running in the background on the phone.
 

MadDog31

macrumors 6502a
May 20, 2007
631
205
The Loopt users go :-O and the iPhone battery goes :-|

Interesting idea, and perhaps a path for other apps...but $3.99 to have someone know where I'm at? Personally, I'll pass. Interesting news nonetheless though, I think.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,948
265
SoCal
Wait, if I read this correctly, it is going to cost you $4 per month to have more ads pushed at you?

What a deal!
 

Lazlow

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2007
96
84
Pay $3.99 a month for something my phone should already be able to do... hmm, sounds like a certain company I know... oh yeah, AT&T :rolleyes:
 

duncanapple

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2008
471
11
yeah, Im sorry but I don't get it... I don't care where my friends are 24/7 and I certainly don't want people to track my where abouts 24/7. Its like facebook stalking taken to the next level. And then to charge $4 a month for this privilege along with what I assume are also very targeted ads... I wouldn't consider myself paranoid but who signs up for this junk?
 

str1f3

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2008
1,859
0
Pay $3.99 a month for something my phone should already be able to do... hmm, sounds like a certain company I know... oh yeah, AT&T :rolleyes:

Agreed. This is ridiculous. The OS should be handling background tasks, not a carrier.
 

Warbrain

macrumors 603
Jun 28, 2004
5,702
293
Chicago, IL
But its not running in the background.

Its taking cell positional data from AT&T's systems and sending it over to loopt. The iPhone app is not running in the background on the phone.

This.

And awesome, people can stalk me even more than they could before. And I have to PAY for that.
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,880
1,538
Falls Church, VA
The OS should be handling background tasks, not a carrier.

I actually think this is a somewhat innovative way to get around the restriction on background applications, which I am growing to think is a good restriction.

Maybe background apps could be more a feasibility on a 3gs, but on my 3G, the memory gets clogged after using just Safari and Mail (which stay open after closing). Imagine if 3rd party applications were allowed to stay open as well! I'd have to use the now banned free memory applications even more frequently or restart my phone.

Granted, I'm not signing up for this service. A little too stalker-ish for me.
 

ViViDboarder

macrumors 68040
Jun 25, 2008
3,447
2
USA
This is dumb. I just want someone to create a small background daemon that updates your position to Google latitude or something like that.

Pay $4/mo to get pop ups when you're near the 1 other friend you may have that's an idiot and decides to pay for this useless app? No thanks.
 

jointsmoking

macrumors regular
May 21, 2009
140
0
I was hoping that Pandora or one of the other "radio' apps would have been the first to get always on status.
 

admanimal

macrumors 68040
Apr 22, 2005
3,531
2
loopt will eventually be duplicated cheaply by someone else...i'd rather pay a flat rate fee for the app than 3.99 for a service

Except it is not possible to duplicate this service without a deal with AT&T, unless Apple eventually allows real background tasks to run on the phone.

I was hoping that Pandora or one of the other "radio' apps would have been the first to get always on status.

Loopt does not have "always on" status either. Loopt's servers will maintain a connection with AT&T's servers, which are providing the location data. The app does not run in the background.
 

ckd

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2009
65
0
"Have you ever paid 4 bucks a month to help your friends stalk you? You will. And the company that'll bring it to you is AT&T."

Man, I miss those "you will" ads; they were such great snark targets.
 

ecume

macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2003
9
0
who'd wanna partner with ATT?

I think Loopt's making partnerships with the devil won't benefit the fact that their service appeals to a very small segment of population. I think newer location startups like Centrl, which focusses on more immediately useful services like realtime chat, are going to dominate this space very soon.
 
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