Unveiled this week at the WWDC by Apple executives, iOS 8 has numerous new bells and whistles and amongst that location sharing that comes as a feature within a new Message app.
The software allows users to either send their current location to their contact or share this location for a longer length of time: one hour, until the end of day or indefinitely. This works both for a unique person you are messaging with or a group of people, in case of a group message thread.
The Message app is clearly an answer to Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging services such as Whatsapp, Viber and others which are enjoying a worldwide success (see chart below). These messaging solutions have massively integrated a “send location“ feature, some of them (Samsung ChatON and BBM) in partnering with location-sharing start-up Glympse.
However, because Message is per essence not cross platform it will be limited in reach compared to solutions such as WhatsApp and others that cover Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and more.
This new location sharing feature also highlights the little success Apple got with the “Find My friends“ app that was launched in October 2011. Find My friends is currently ranking 684th in iTunes iPhone market and 492th in iTunes iPad market.