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Exclusive look at the new Loopt beta

Our man in the Valley is back, this time with a rather swish exclusive on the new Loopt beta.

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So I now want to talk about the TechCrunch event at August Capital last Friday. Before the meetup, there was a panel on the “Mobile Browsing Web Wars”. If you want to know about this read this post.

But I can sum it up for you in one sentence: A bunch of dudes, one woman, all talking about why their business model is the best. But I’ve got more important things to talk about: the schmooze-fest that followed, and as promised, an exclusive look at the new Loopt beta for you SMS Text News readers.

So the party was, as Ewan might say “fooking brilliant”. It really was. Beyond A-List attendees, free liquor, and these really cool cheeseburger sliders.

Loopt had a booth up and an influential blogger (not trying to be coy here, just don’t want them to deduct my identity) told me to go to the Loopt table and get the new beta. So I went to the table and dropped the blogger’s name and the Loopt gentleman tried to talk me out of it.
“It doesn’t work too well, it’s really buggy, are you sure?”

After convincing him that I wanted to take the plunge, he plugged in my iPhone to his computer and waited. And waited. After a few long minutes, it was ready, and now a new Loopt app with a small “TC” logo on it appeared on my home page.

At this point I see that they went out of their way to make this a special version just for the TechCrunch event, so I don’t know how many things they gave away. But I know that there was no line up to the table and each loading of the app took a long time, so I deduce that very few actually got it. And I haven’t seen anything about this new beta on the blogosphere yet, so maybe they made everyone sign an NDA or something?

But they didn’t make me, or even tell me verbally to keep this secret, so here goes!

The new feature allows users to connect and look at people in their area who aren’t their friends.

Before, you could only see where your friends are, but now you can see when you are at a bar, or party or whatever, live Loopt users.

Like everything else about Loopt, kinda cool, kinda creepy. OK very creepy. Especially with Loopt’s past issues about spamming users friends while trolling for invites.

Despite CEO Sam Altman’s apology and insistence that it would never happen again, it should of never happened in the first place. If I’m giving these guys my phone number, my location and my friend’s phone numbers, I don’t want to know what their next fuck-up will be.

See the screenshots to look at the new feature, which Loopt is calling ‘Mix”:

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By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “Exclusive look at the new Loopt beta”

Yet another Daily Mail headline in waiting: “Weird dad stalks daughter's friends by mobile”

For f%ck's sake, when will LBS/Presence developers wake up. Run this sort of idea past some normal people. People who don't use your services. Not your own users, NORMAL people. Not your geeks. they don't reside in the normal world, either in what's technically or socially acceptable.

I'd bet 99.9999999999999% of people, if asked “would you like complete strangers to be able to see when you are in the bar / gym etc, assisted by your Mobile Operator?” would give a suitably worded variant on “over my MNO's dead body”.

And don't give me the “It's an app the user signed up to, nothing to do with the MNO” line either. This sort of thing is too hard for most to conceptualise as being separate, so the MNO will get the blame when the inevitable stalkings etc occur. Does the developer community *WANT* MNO's to block their apps?

Mr Altman et al, keep your dumb ideas on a tight leash or we'll be back to the good old days of port/URL blocking.

Yeeesh.

“A bunch of dudes, one woman, all talking about why their business model is the best.”

Ewan-

I got a kick out of your Man in the Valley's summary of the

“A bunch of dudes, one woman, all talking about why their business model is the best.”

Ewan-

I got a kick out of your Man in the Valley's summary of the “Mobile Browsing Web Wars” Roundtable. That actually encapsulates it fairly well, and, agreed, the schmooze-fest and the food were spot on.

We met and chatted for a while once at the SDForum event you moderated some time back.
I gave you some cryptic info about the new cooking app I was working on and you asked me how you could help.

That was me- yes- the one woman on the roundtable. How you can help? Help me get a few more words in edgewise next time. 😉

The only way in that format to say a fraction of what I had on my mind is to post about it here: http://www.cookingcapsules.com/2008/07/techcrun

Mary Ann

ps- my business model is the best. (snap!)

“A bunch of dudes, one woman, all talking about why their business model is the best.”

Ewan-

I got a kick out of your Man in the Valley's summary of the “Mobile Browsing Web Wars” Roundtable. That actually encapsulates it fairly well, and, agreed, the schmooze-fest and the food were spot on.

We met and chatted for a while once at the SDForum event you moderated some time back.
I gave you some cryptic info about the new cooking app I was working on and you asked me how you could help.

That was me- yes- the one woman on the roundtable. How you can help? Help me get a few more words in edgewise next time. 😉

The only way in that format to say a fraction of what I had on my mind is to post about it here: http://www.cookingcapsules.com/2008/07/techcrun

Mary Ann

ps- my business model is the best. (snap!)

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