In the geosocial battles Loopt was on the field before so many others even took up arms. Then they seemed to recede: not selling to Google, sort of yielding to some of the louder startups in the space (or perhaps they were just their ugly adolescent stage as VC Fred Wilson puts it, tho not about Loopt).
No matter, because today they are back with V 4.0 and some pretty cool stuff including one of my favorites: Ping, which lets you send location-based texts messages (see video). They’ve brought over rewards from their “Loopt Star” version. And now a location-centric view of social networks lets you see what places around you are popular with the community and with your friends.
As the company puts it:
- Notifications: A feed of the latest Loopt activity, such as nearby places your friends like to go, and allows you to respond to Pings, friend requests, and see nearby rewards. Here, users will also find “hot” places nearby (this includes places their friends have gone and where a significant amount of Loopt users have gone).
- Simplified background location sharing: Turn background location sharing on or off for a subset of close friends/family so they can see where you are any time, even if the app isn’t open; everyone else only sees you when you check in. This marks a shift in location sharing. The ability to share background location persistently with close friends creates new sharing opportunities for those who don’t want to check in, and a chance for surprise and delight when you’re alerted a friend is nearby. [Curious to see what this does to battery life – please report back in the comments field]
- Connect with friends in more ways: Loopt is adding text to the existing Ping messages (which previously just requested a friend’s location), which eliminates the need for meet-up text messages like “where are you?” and “almost there,” by pairing a map with those messages. Loopt lets you Ping your Facebook friends as well (by posting a note on their wall).
- Friend list sorting: More sophisticated list sorting of friends, into nearby, recent and by name.
- Find and connect with friends around places: A Places button is now at the center of Loopt’s home screen, incorporating check-in functionality, and also now including more friend- and place-finding features. Find out if friends have been to a place, if they are nearby a place you checked in, or if they are there right now. From a Place page, you can Ping all your friends at that place with a group message.
This post originally appeared on Locl.ly.