Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Broken Marriage – Thanks to iPhone!

When Apple released its new iOS 5 operating system to go with its iPhone 4S, it touted a new application called "Find My Friends" as a great way to track and meet up with friends. Similar in concept to Google Latitude, Find My Friends lets users follow people who have accepted requests in their own copies of the app. Once they give the thumbs up, friends will appear both on a list of contacts and on a Google map.

As needed users can toggle parental and privacy controls. The most important of these may be temporary sharing, which will automatically stop tracking by others after a certain length of time. Find My Friends is a free universal app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but requires both iOS 5 and an iCloud account.

While this social application might be quite useful for buddies to have fun staking and meeting each other unexpectedly, some users might find suitable applications to get is utilized. If the online posts appearing on a chat forum at MacRumors.com are for real, "Find My Friends" may have already claimed its first marriage.

October 15, 2011 on MacRumors, a man saying he lived in New York City posted this:

Divorcing wife. Thanks iPhone 4s and Find My Friends.

I got my wife a new 4s and loaded up find my friends without her knowing. She told me she was at her friends house in the east village. I've had suspicions about her meeting this guy who live uptown. Lo and behold, Find my Friends has her right there.

I just texted her asking where she was and the dumb b!otch said she was on 10th Street!! Thank you Apple, thank you App Store, thank you all. These beautiful treasure trove of screen shots going to play well when I meet her a$$ at the lawyer's office in a few weeks.

thankfully, she's the rich one.

It has not been determined whether the story posted on MacRumors was, in fact, authentic, and the man did not immediately reply to a request from ABC News for comment. But more than 100,000 people have viewed the posts, according to MacRumors. More than 300 of them replied with expressions of sympathy, skepticism and -- this being the Internet -- a few less-than-savory jokes.
Arnold Kim, the editorial director of MacRumors, said it was "definitely a busy thread."

MacRumors did not try to verify the man's story (if, in fact, it was a man), but said everyone who registers for its forums has to validate their email when they register.

"Find My Friends" uses the iPhone or iPad's built-in Global Positioning System to see your friends' locations on a map on the screen of your device. GPS can be accurate to within a few feet for civilian uses.

Apple says "The Find My Friends app is a great way to share your location with people who are important to you" -- whether you're trying to meet friends at a crowded concert or make sure your kids get safely home from school.

The man was back with a new post less than an hour later, including a couple of screen grabs showing the location of his wife was on East 65th St., though she sent him a text message saying, "Was hard to find stupid cab hate meat packing...."

The husband again: "She said she is in meat packing district which is on 12th street. I DONT THINK SO. Appreciate the support. not my finest hour here but going to get better soon."

How true the story is? Or that is a marketing trick of the Apple developers? Or that is application developers? In any case, the associated buzz will make the trick. The software is free for to use, so there is no financial barrier for its installation.

In any case, if you like the application, and its potential, you should be aware on the possible negative outcomes, not being considered.

Once you're being followed by someone, they can discover your location, or at least the location of your phone, at any time, with three exceptions:
  1. When your phone is turned off or otherwise off the grid,
  2. After you've deleted that person from your list of followers, or
  3. When you go into Hide mode, which you find under the Me menu at the bottom of the screen.

Note that deleting someone from the list of people you're following is different than deleting a person from your list of people allowed following you. Also, you can still see the locations of other people when you're in Hide mode.

One of Find My Friends' best features is the Temporary mode found in the top-level menu. This allows you to set up select windows of time, adjustable to the half-hour, in which you're able to follow another person and let him or her follow you. Once the time window has expired, you're unfindable to each other and will have to submit new requests to once again appear on each others' maps.

This is nice for two reasons. 1) People forget. If you really want to be visible to this person only for a select amount of time, but then you forget to manually turn off access for days/weeks/months, it leaves you with a very strange feeling. 2) A temporary invitation that automatically expires just seems smoother than actively defriending someone.

Sources and Additional Information: