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