Dan Beeston is

Brushing Off Invisible Spiders

Where are you?

14th March 2013

'A gunman? In the city?’

Let me digest that information.

'No shots fired. Police have evacuated the mall. Lunchtime shoppers have been locked into local businesses for their own protection.'

It's very unlikely that my wife would have walked a kilometre from her work at lunchtime to have put herself in harm's way. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. I'll just send her an unrelated text message. Totally unrelated. Not checking her situation at all.

Okay, she hasn't responded. That's fine. That's normal. She has a busy job. It would be a total over-reaction to call her.


Okay, so she let it go to voice mail. That's normal. She has it on silent a lot. She'll probably call back as soon as she sees it. There's not much for me to do about it, but I'll tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to panic. I'm certainly not going to do that.


Not panicking at all.


And this is the point that the product review begins.

I installed 'Find my Friends' on both my iPhone and my wife's. (This was done with her consent I should add. I'm not the over-controlling type who sneaks looks through her messages, nor can I figure out her security code.) A single click and it sends a signal to her device, it pings a bunch of satellites as they race around the planet and then it sends back her location.

Blam! Nowhere near what was delicately referred to as a 'police incident'.

I breathe again.

I installed it initially as a novelty and have been surprised at just how useful it's been. I can now tell just how late she's running in the evening and if she's been held up in the mornings. Is she still ten minutes from work at nine am? Well maybe she'd benefit from an empathetic comment regarding the reliability of the Brisbane City Bus Service.

Even during the working hours it's kind of reassuring just to ping that blue dot. In the same way that you might both silently work on separate projects it's nice to look up and just remind yourself that the person you've paired with for life actually exists.

The biggest surprise is that she loves it too. If I'm out she can check whether or not to put extra food on for me if I'm obviously on my way. And if I end up going on some crazy late night adventure she can remind me to tell her what the fuck I'm up too with a simple 'what the fuck are you doing in [location of caper]'.

It has also brought piece of mind while my non-English speaking sister-in-law has been staying with us. If she ends up lost in this big brown land, I can at least pin point her location and go and pick her up. Also it gives me warning as to when it would be prudent to put on pants.

I imagine this would be a great app for long distance relationships. Being able to connect with your partner's location without having to disturb them doesn't replace having them in the room, but it does echo it.

The same for kids. I don't know how many kids get to carry an iPhone around but if they do  it's the next best thing to injecting a tracking chip under their pelt.

The only downside is that GPS tracking is expensive on the battery. If your beloved is a little bit of a control freak she may drain both her phone's battery and yours.

Also it makes sneaking off to your mistress's apartment tricky.

Four stars.

photo attribution Brian Finifter