Once Considered Creepy, Location Apps Now Seen as Critical for Safety, Logistics – (NPR – July 12, 2019)

Modern relationships have become defined by the constant communication enabled by smartphones. Josh Constine, editor at large of the website TechCrunch, said constant checking-in through location sharing is the next natural step. According to Constine, launches of apps like Foursquare, in 2009, and Find My Friends, in 2011, were the start of mainstream location sharing. But at the time, many people were hesitant to share their location and thought twice before using these apps regularly. Location sharing had really taken off, Constine said, by the time Snapchat released, in 2017, its Snap Map feature, which shows users where all their contacts are anywhere on the globe. Today, people frequently opt to broadcast their whereabouts to their social circles, something that Constine said would have been a terrifying concept before smartphone technology. “Now we all treat GPS as a critical utility,” Constine told NPR in an email. “Privacy and security norms continue to loosen. We don’t think twice about staying in a stranger’s house via Airbnb or riding in their car via Uber.” Why should location-sharing apps be any different? Overall, people reported a common theme — that location sharing is a double-edged sword. These apps provide a constant source of useful information and can be invaluable in emergency situations. But they’re also rapidly changing social norms and revealing behaviors that people used to be able to hide. “It kind of exposes the lies, which I guess is a good thing,” Jordan says. “But at the same time, it does kind of make you begin to question, well, what else could you be telling little fibs about in our relationship?”

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Written by John L. Petersen

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Postscript: Raymon Grace and Jeff Jones

This New Liquid is Magnetic, and Mesmerizing – (New York Times – July 19, 2019)