Foursquare, Facebook, even Find My Friends… these are all services that are ostensibly designed to help us to find our real-life buddies when we’re around town. So why are they so bad at it? Why do they all feel so useless?
The reason’s pretty simple when you think about it: most of the time, you don’t really care where your friends are, or how many trophies they’ve earned, but when you do want to know where they are, you want to know exactly where they are at that precise moment, either because they’re running late or you’re hoping to meet up. And the only way to really know that with any certainty is to ask directly.
Tehula is a new iPhone app that makes asking people where they are just deviously simple. And it works even if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad: all you need is a phone with a GPS unit and a web browser.
Over at FastCo Design, Mark Wilson explains how it works.
The request is sent via text message, and even if they don’t have the app or even an iPhone, all your friend needs to do is click a link to share their coordinates.
“The basic premise is that we’ve all been confronted with situations where we are waiting for someone, they run late, and usually what follows is a mix of phone calls to ask them where they are, and them looking for a street sign or struggling with their GPS app while on speaker phone,” explains Tehula developer Adrien Friggeri. “This is broken.”
Testing the app, I found the experience satisfyingly barebones. Requesting a friend’s location is as simple as snagging their name from your address book. A log screen keeps track of whether or not they’ve texted back, in case you miss the push notification.
The app itself is attractively bare bones, and gets big props from us for making a highly visible nod towards respecting its users privacy, promising users that Tehula will only store your address or location for as long as it takes to find your friend. For a buck, this seems like a big time saver… and certainly a lot less hideous to look at
- Source FastCo Design