Update May 2012:
Shortly after the release of Apple’s ‘Find My Friends’ app in October 2011, we the folks at AppilyWherever, LLC decided to discontinue development on ShadowMe and shut it down. The application garnered over 10,000 unique users worldwide while we had it running.
Back in June 2009 a friend and I had an idea while planning for a cross country drive. I was driving my old ’89 Nissan Sentra and Nick McGlynn was driving a Honda Nighthawk motorcycle from California to New York. Along the way we had planned to caravan for parts, but also ‘leap frog’ each other from town to town. I thought it would be great if we could use our iPhones to keep track of each other’s progress as we moved and also use them to meet up when directions based on landmarks or addresses might be difficult, such as the middle of White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.
I did some research and found several apps that let you email your current latitude and longitude to people but nothing let you track each other in real time. So over a weekend the concept and some rough coding of ShadowMe materialized. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to finish it before the trip and there were many moments during the drive where I wished I had.
About a month later, another soon to be business partner Charley Miller, approached me with an iPhone app he was working on called Sneaker. We quickly realized that our apps aimed to solve the same problem and agreed to join our efforts. After many months with lots of testing and back and forth, we had a functional prototype. I spent another month putting on the final polish, adding iPad support and other changes in prep for releasing to Apple.
Yesterday, Apple approved that app and now you can download it for free from the iTunes App Store.
Here’s how it works:
ShadowMe uses Facebook Connect to simplify the process of finding friends and managing privacy. In the future we plan to support native authentication and more rigorous privacy controls.
Once you login with Facebook, we compare your friends with our list of users to determine who you can track and who can track you. You don’t have to search for and add your own friends, it all happens automatically. You can invite new friends by email, but they also need to be friends with you on Facebook and login to ShadowMe at least once before they show up in your friends list. You can also use ShadowMe to publish your current location to Facebook with a link to Google Maps.
When you select a friend to “Shadow”, it connects to our servers and requests their last known location. From the map screen you can use the “Request Location” feature which will send your friend an Apple Push Notification that you want to know where they are. They can then choose to share their location or ignore it. You can also send direct messages to your friends which will show up within ShadowMe or as an Apple Push Notification.
The map view will update every few seconds or so as you both move through the world, you can leave the app running to continue tracking each other, or if your friend is stationary you can use the “Get Directions” feature to load directions to their location in the Maps application. Last but not least, if you have an iPhone 3GS or an iPad you can use the “Point” button to load a compass which will point out where the user is in relation to you.
We’re planning really cool things for this app in the coming months, but if you have a feature request don’t hesitate to contact us through our website http://www.appilywherever.com/shadowme.
iTunes App Store Download : http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shadowme/id365635348?mt=8