With summer in full swing, groups of friends and family members will be planning road trips and social events. Two free apps, Jink and Scout, hope to make meeting up hassle-free. The first prides itself on its simplicity, the other on its multifunctionality.
Jink bills itself as a meet-up app. Users can share their locations with one another and watch everyone’s progress; once the group gets to the same place, the app turns off (saving battery and protecting privacy).
When three friends and I planned a get-together, I suggested we try Jink. My friends, however, didn’t see the point of tracking one another when we could just text our ETA.
“I don’t get it” and “It’s kind of creepy that you can see where I am” seemed to be the consensus. Perhaps Jink is too simple.
Jink seems most helpful if you’re the organizer and need to monitor others’ progress. But you can’t message or chat as a group, making communicating a change of plans or forming a consensus difficult. I found myself wanting to resort to texting.
According to Brett Memsic, a co-founder of Greenhouse Apps, updates coming soon to Jink include the ability to communicate as a group and a “plans” feature that will allow users to give a description, location and time, and send invites.
Scout, by Telenav, is an app geared toward more aspects of traveling and already has those planning features, as well as the ability to group chat.
The easy-to-navigate app uses Yelp and OpenStreetMap to help users plan and coordinate meetings. (For $4.99 a month or $24.99 a year, users can download maps for offline navigation, which can be beneficial to people traveling outside their country without cellular service.)
As with Jink, users can message friends who don’t have the app to invite them to join, pinpoint locations and track progress. One of my favorite features allows users to pull up Yelp reviews of their destinations. Scout will even recommend restaurants and other locations in case you need to make a pit stop.
Recently, Telenav announced a voice chat system that works similar to a walkie-talkie, allowing users to send short voice messages to one another.
My sister and I gave Scout a try when meeting for dinner. We both found its all-in-one features impressive, but she still thought texting was the easiest way to go.
If my experience is any guide, location-sharing apps might be a tough sell. For those of us who like to organize events, that’s bad news. Because we sure can’t use them alone.
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