Microsoft tackles location with 'We're In' Windows Phone app


5 Aug 2011
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Microsoft jumped into the location game Thursday with the "We're In" app for Windows Phone, which allows you to share your location with friends and family.
"We’re In makes organizing get- together's, carpooling and trying to find people in a crowd a breeze. Any time you want to see where your friends are—We're In can help you," Microsoft said in a blog post."It's simple, invite your friends, and when they join, they'll see your location and you'll see theirs. When the invite expires, so does the shared location – no complicated process to worry about."
Microsoft said all you need to sign up is a phone number; friends can then be invited to join via your contacts list or by entering their numbers. You can also select how long you want to share your location information with specific people. Friends will receive a text message invite to "We're In"; those who do not have a Windows Phone device can join from the mobile Web.
As friends join, their locations will pop up on a map within the app. Everyone who joins will be able to see everyone else's location; pinch and push to expand or zoom in on location. There's also a Facebook-esque status option to keep people apprised of your location (on my way, running late, etc). To see a status, tap a friend's user tile on the map. To see everyone's status, navigate to the People tab.
To stop sharing your location, tap "leave" on the People tab, or send a status message about your departure. You can also just wait until your invite expires, at which tim you will be automatically logged out.
Microsoft said "We're In" is currently only available as an app for Windows Phone, but the company is working on bringing it to other mobile platforms.
Google has a similar service, known as Latitude, which also incorporates discounts. In April, Latitude expanded nationwide for iPhone and Android devices, and let users check in to locations and earn discounts from specific retailers. Earlier this month, meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Foursquare will earn most of its revenue from tracking consumer behavior and selling the results to merchants, not via more traditional advertising.
Location services have gotten a lot of press recently, largely for questions over whether companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft were tracking users' locations without their permission. Yesterday, Groupon also provided more details about how it collects and stores its users' data.

Source : Digit Magazine.
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