There has been much talk over the last two weeks about location tracking and location services, and lost in the debate about privacy is the value that location services provides. Local search, mapping, and navigation apps come quickly to mind, but many apps exist that use location awareness to provide value. For example, there is Remember It, which provides a location based alarm.
Imagine that you are at a restaurant and you took a coat that you don’t what to leave without. You configure Remember It to sound an alarm when you move more than 50, 200, or 500 feet from your present location. Get up to leave with your phone, and Remember It sounds the alarm to remind you take your coat. The developer says he wrote the app after discovering that he left his credit card at a bar.
Remember It is a relatively simple application in comparison to check-in apps like Foursquare, but I think it illustrates the value that location services provides. The reason why Apple has that file on the iPhone that has cell tower and WiFi hotspot locations is to make apps like Remember It and Foursquare work better by speeding up the process of determining your location, when you the user want the phone to find yor location. If you have ever waited to use a navigation app while the phone or GPS locates satellites, you know how long it can take and how much of an inconvenience waiting can be.