Foursquare has released a major revision and revamp of its iOS and Android apps, introducing a brand new user interface. Foursquare 5.0 aims to make it easier to find places to go and activities to do, as it now takes into account the time of day, the local weather, and your location before recommending something to do. It also now incorporates a Like button on venues, which it will then use to find more places that it thinks you'll like when you are using the Explore function. You can grab Foursquare 5.0 now from the App Store and Google Play.
Groupon has launched an instant, location-based mobile deal offering service called Groupon Now. The service offers various deals throughout the day via a mobile application or on the Web, rather than a single deal delivered to your inbox.
It's similar to the way services like Foursquare or Facebook Places offer discounts and deals, tapping into your device's GPS to peddle coupons in real-time. When you enter your location, Groupon Now lets you choose the type of deal you'd like, whether it's a half-price salsa lesson or a discount on a cheeseburger. Using your existing Groupon account, you can purchase the deal with one click, present a barcode for the vendor to scan, and claim your discount.
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Apple just released iOS 4.3.3, an update aimed to fix the location tracking issue that raised a bunch of concerns over the last couple of weeks. With this update, the consolidated.db database that stores the location data will be reduced in size, and that database will no longer be backed up to iTunes. In addition, if you turn Location Services off, the cache gets deleted entirely. Plug your iPhone in and have iTunes check for the update when you get a chance--jailbreakers, you'll wanna wait until there's a compatible fix.
As promised last week, Apple will fix location-tracking software on the iPhone and other devices in an update to its iOS mobile operating system in the next few weeks.
The update for iPhones and iPad tablets will address several location-tracking issues that came to light in April when two researchers publicized the existence of an unencrypted, hidden file on iPhones that stores location data taken from nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. The cached data is also timestamped, backed up on iTunes and although associated with Apple's Location Services, cannot be shut off by users when they opted out of the service.
The iOS 4.3.3 update promises to end the backing up of the location database when devices are synched to iTunes, reduce the size of the cached data file and delete the database when users turn off Location Services, according to BGR.com.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Phones don't store location history in a manner similar to the iPhone, which records the location data in an unencrypted file. The news that some iOS devices keep location data came to light last week, although
Microsoft told us unequivocally that phones running Windows Phone 7 do not store location history. Like most other phones, the platform offers plenty of location-based apps, and those apps require user consent before they begin tracking. Windows Phones also offer the common feature of a "global switch" that lets the user disable all location services, and Microsoft says its "Find My Phone" service keeps only the phone's most recent location.
We also contacted Nokia, RIM, Google, and HP about how the companies' mobile platforms store location data, and none, save Microsoft, have responded. It's been confirmed independently that Google Android also tracks and stores location data.
In the crowded world of location apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places, Google Latitude aimed to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. Unlike the others which center around checking into places by tapping an icon, Latitude always tracked where you were in real-time, without any user interaction needed. Then it would share your whereabouts with your friends as you moved around. Thing is, people like checking in. So Google went ahead and added the ability to check in on Latitude, which will allow more flexibility for users of the app. A more interesting feature in Latitude is you can even choose to be automatically checked into locations, which sounds fairly ridiculous given how close many spots are to each other.
Who knew Coke Zero would be in the forefront of gaming innovation? Last week, Coca-Cola released "the first ever location-based videogame" called LiveCycle.
LiveCyle is based on Disney's TRON: Legacy film and the premise of the game is to move around the real world real to create a Light Wall and derezz your opponents, and avoid being derezzed by theirs. The Coke Zero websites offers a trailer of the game which makes it seem like a pretty fun idea, though there is a lack of actually gameplay. Real gaming innovation or interactive advertising? You decide! Play the game and let us know in the comments!
Live Cycle is available in the iTunes stores for the low, low price of $0.00. Download it here.