It's 10 P.M., do you know where your kids are?
You probably do if you're using Footprints, a new app for the iPhone, iPad and iTouch that lets you track the locations of your friends and family in real time.
Though people were plenty unhappy to hear that Apple's iPhone was storing precise locational data, this app lets you use the same information privately, with people who want to share.
Before adding a user to your Footprints list of whom to track, you must first obtain the user's permission. Once you do, Footprints lets you see precisely where that user is on a map at any given time. The app can even provide information about how quickly the person is moving, a plus for parents trying to make sure their teen isn't speeding down the freeway.
The app also lets you track someone's location over the period of time you choose. In fact, parents can install the app on their children's phones with a parental control feature that makes it impossible for the child to remove it without the passcode. Your kid won't be able to say he's going to band practice when he's secretly buying alcohol at the deli, especially since that "My phone battery died" excuse can only get used so often. Also, Footprints runs in the background to avoid draining battery, though it can be manually checked.
One reviewer said the app lets him wait till his wife is at her destination before calling her phone so she's not chatting and driving. We can think of a few more uses, too. Suspicious spouses can now grill their supposedly unfaithful partners about out-of-town hotel visits on Monday afternoons; watchful bosses can ensure their employees aren't skipping out on the job. Oh, the possibilities.
Footprints is available at the app store. It's free for the first 60 days. After that, the next three months will cost $0.99, with a yearly subscription for $2.99, or a 2-year subscription at $4.99.