There have been plenty of times when I have sat at a restaurant alone, not-so-patiently waiting half an hour for my friend who claims to be “5 minutes away.” No doubt, we have all at some point felt as rushed as the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, or have a few too many of these held-up hares as friends and coworkers.
Now, with the free app Twist, time-challenged iPhone users can notify colleagues of expected arrival times by bringing their schedule to you. While this may not eliminate tardiness, it is expected to change the habits of the texting-while-driving crowd (you know who you are!).
Administered by Twist, a Harris Interactive survey showed that 53 percent of belatedness was caused by traffic or transportation issues, followed by 38 percent underestimation of travel times, and 25 percent getting lost.
Other location sharing apps include Glympse, Google’s Latitude and Apple’s Find my Friends, but Twist provides extra features that truly makes it stand out from its competitors. I used to take a screen shot of my phone’s GPS map and send it as a picture message to my waiting friend, so any of these applications are a big improvement, though Twist has proven to bring the most power to its punch.
Twist allows you to search for your intended location by address or keyword and then gives you access to your phone’s address book to send out your ETA alert to whomever you please. If the recipient doesn’t have an iPhone, the alert will be sent via text or email, complete with a link to a map of your location. If they are a fellow iPhone user, push notifications will be sent and information can be accessed directly through the Twist app. An Android version is in development and will be released once the iPhone version is perfected.
Twist is conveniently intuitive and will wait until it senses that you have left your point of origin before sending out an alert of your ETA to your predetermined contacts. This means that you can plan ahead and input information beforehand. Once en route, Twist periodically checks the location and will even update your arrival time by factoring in traffic flow. Twist tracks user driving, public transit apps, biking and walking. The app sends out alerts to your recipient at the beginning, middle and end of your trip. This prevents the need to text a misspelled update to your friends while driving (and prevent plausible vehicle collisions), since Twist will keep your eyes on the road and do the texting for you.
Additional Twist features include Yelp reviews for your destination (if applicable), as well as the weather forecast and Google street view. The app also works with calendars, photos and check-ins.
After Twist’s launch last week, I have been using the app. Of note is the surprisingly small drain on battery life – a pleasant surprise after finding geolocating apps typically suck battery life when running in the background.