Social-networking platform Loopt boasts more than 1 million users, and I know none of them.
Loopt lets users pinpoint their own and friends’ locations on a map, nice if, say, you’re a character on "Gossip Girl" and need to happen upon an Upper East Sider in a bar (see last year’s season finale.)
The app sounds a bit stalkerish - and it is as much as you want it to be, I suppose. Users have to confirm someone as friend for them to see your location, and since the iPhone doesn’t support background processes, your location is only updated when you launch the app or manually update. You can also hide your location from everyone or just certain friends.
Because I couldn’t find any friends already on Loopt - surprising since it’s available from most wireless carriers and phones other than the iPhone - I recruited my boyfriend to sign up. That’s when I discovered that Loopt isn’t that accurate. Apparently, his office at the end of our apartment is in Colorado, a far cry from Chicago.
Loopt’s interface is clunky, too. Because Loopt only updates when running, to find your friends locations you have to “ping” them. This sends a text message, with your current location, asking the friends to run Loopt. Once they do that, the initial requester gets a “pong” back with the friends' new locations and instructions to, yes, run Loopt. You can change your settings to have alerts such as these sent to email (do this if you don’t have unlimited texting), but I still can’t figure out why all this back and forth is better than just sending a text directly or, God forbid, using your phone to call someone.
For iPod Touch users: Even though Loopt’s main transport is SMS, the app is available for you. You’ll need to provide a phone number capable of receiving texts for initial setup, however. To use the app you must be utilizing Wi-Fi, but you won’t be able to use the app to text friends or get alerts unless you have them sent to email.
Until Loopt supports push notifications, until the iPhone supports background programs, or until your friends are using the system, I’d hold off on registering.