Find my Friends isn’t quite there yet. Unlikely to be.

While Apple can do no wrong in software and hardware (other than be TOO POPULAR), they often fail in one area and that’s social. Find my friends is the third social attempt by Apple. They’ve failed to set the industry on fire with Ping (their music sharing social network) and Game Center (their game matching service) and now we have real world location with Find my friends.

Find My Friends is “better” for some values of “better” than the other attempts but it still highlights a lack of vision, a lack of “what could this do, where could this go”.

For instance: I’ve added a couple of people on Find My Friends.

Setting Status
Finding friends is one part of the equation but being found is another. Where is the option to set a status update so that people can see this. Even something as simple as “Busy” or “Available” will let people know if they should message you. This is even more important than selecting the “temporary” setting to be found.

Where is the alert that tells me my friends have entered within a mile of my location? Having a travelling GeoFence is an obvious feature for Find My Friends enabled smartphone users. And yes, it could be great for the untrustworthy or unfaithful but giving people an iota of credit, if there’s a ‘situation’ where location becomes an issue, the stupid will get caught.

Finding Friends Again. And again.
I have connections established by Ping and Game Center but Find My Friends wants to rifle through my address book to find people I can connect to? Really? In 2011, this is a solution? Why not give me a list of my Ping and Game Center connections and just ask me if I want to add them to my FMF list?

Time Alerts
Why can’t I set my non-existent status alert by the time of day or by the entries in my calendar? This stuff is all interconnected. Why doesn’t it just work? For that matter, why does my phone still ring when I’m plainly in a meeting! I don’t think Siri will help with that!

Group Messaging
Where’s the option to message all of my friends? Where’s the option to ping them with a “Anyone free for lunch” or to set a status change “Free for lunch”. Where does this actually work for friends? In the video, they say it’s good for when the family (obviously all toting iPhones) are at Disneyworld but seriously do we have to message each one individually?

The daft thing is that group messaging is excellently supported in Messages (via iMessage) but not in Find My Friends. Dumb.

So, in my opinion, Find My Friends, just like Ping and Game Center, is a pretty half-assed solution. Apple can still tie this all together and make it just work and maybe they will – maybe this is all part of the plan. Maybe the NEXT MAJOR RELEASE will tie all of these loose ends together? But I doubt it.

0 thoughts on “Find my Friends isn’t quite there yet. Unlikely to be.”

  1. Yeeeeeessss….

    Except Apple always focuses on the simplest case first. I do like the idea of a busy/working status, and group messaging, but the primary purpose of the app is “where are my friends?”, not to be some kind of extended Microsoft Outlook for those who don’t happen to share an office.

    Group messaging is supported by iMessage right?

    So, I could see SOME enhancements coming, but maybe your are looking in the wrong place – and a Third Party needs to create a better “ultimate virtual office presence and communication system’. Like Outlook.

  2. Considering they seldom open these things to everyone (are we going to get access to the FMF database and API? Or the iMessage API?) then you end up just building another also-ran to join Latitude, Brightkite, Loopt, foursquare, Gowalla, Locle and any of the hundred other “please share your location data with us so we can do fuck all useful with it” services out there.

  3. Hey, plenty of other social apps took off without Apple in the name. In fact, all of them 🙂

    Sure, it wouldn’t be as popular as if Apple put it on 50,000,000 devices overnight, but if it was good enough, it would explode in popularity – IF it’s something that people actually wanted. Perhaps not everyone has the same nomadic existence as your good self, and so your desire to know all their movements and moods isn’t something they are willing to sign up for.

  4. I don’t think that any of the location-based social networks have really “taken off”.

    Sharing your location for a bit is probably more useful to some than others. But group messaging, geofencing is a killer feature.

  5. I agree, I was perusing the web looking for a geofencing solution for Find my Friends. I use the app to find the location of my kids when they don’t answer the phone. I just recently broke down and I made the switch from android to iPhone and I love it. I have the 4s though and I have to be honest Siri makes it. I think if I was to have gotten a 4 I would have been disappointed. I wish there was a feature that allowed a notification to go off when someone left or entered a set value. I would love it. My son starts high school next year and let’s me honest I trust him, but peer pressure will have him cutting class in a week. I would love to set up a geofence around his school so that I will know if he leaves the area of the school. My other son who is a year younger goes with his mom every so often, she is not a US citizen and although I hope she abides by the court order and doesn’t try to leave the state with him or the country for that matter, I would like to be notified if he was to travel outside a set area. I think these features would be invaluable.

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