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Do you want to be able to track your friends’ and family’s location on a map?

Admittedly, it sounds a bit creepy Why Tracking Your Significant Other's Location Isn't Always Evil Why Tracking Your Significant Other's Location Isn't Always Evil But is it really so wrong to track your partner's movements, assuming it's consensual? Read More , but these days most people continually broadcast their whereabouts on social media anyway. Surely one more privacy-eroding app won’t hurt?!

GPS tracking apps have been available for many years. Sadly, some of the greatest early pioneers — such as Google Latitude — have gone to app heaven. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great tools available in the Google Play Store.

Here are five of the best apps for finding and tracking your friends and family.

1. Familonet

Familonet is arguably the best tracking app available. It’s free to download and has a four-star rating from almost 20,000 reviews.

Even though a tracking app is always going to set off privacy alarm bells, Familonet does it’s best to minimize the risk. It never asks you for an email address and it doesn’t connect with your Facebook or Google account. To make an account, you only need to supply your name and phone number.

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When you’re broadcasting your location Are You Sharing Your Location On Facebook Without Knowing? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Are You Sharing Your Location On Facebook Without Knowing? [Weekly Facebook Tips] Have you been giving your stalkers your address inadvertently? You might accidentally be giving all of your Facebook friends the exact location of your house, your office and where your kids go to school. Read More , your contacts will see you moving in real-time on their own app. Anyone can stop broadcasting their location at the push of a button, making it easy to go “off the grid” for a period of time.

Its “Places” feature lets you save regularly frequented locations — such as homes, offices, and schools. You’ll get a notification every time one of your contacts arrives at one of the specified destinations.

You can even organize your contacts into groups, like “Friends” or “Family”. You can broadcast your location to one group while appearing offline to another.

The app also offers a panic button, private chat, and shared photo albums.

Download: Familonet (Free)

2. Glympse

Glympse has been around for a few years and has built up a loyal following, especially among office workers.

The app is geared towards temporary sharing. Each “Glympse” only lasts for a maximum of four hours at a time. As such, it’s not a great tool if you want to track kids and relatives, but it’s an excellent way to coordinate with a large group of people in a foreign city.

Two features have helped make the app popular in offices:

  • Requests: You can ask for a Glympse of someone, ideal for finding the location of a person who’s late for a meeting.
  • Open Sharing: You can share your Glympse with anyone. The receiver does not need to have the app installed on their own device.

The app comes with built-in messaging tools for instantly getting in touch with other users, and it also offers a web interface in case you’re ever stuck somewhere without your phone.

Download: Glympse (Free)

3. Foursquare Swarm: Check In

Foursquare Swarm turns location tracking into a game. The more places you check into, the more points you earn. The app displays your score on a leaderboard alongside all your other friends.

But the app isn’t only a game. When you check into somewhere, you can share your location with your contacts and see who else is nearby. It doesn’t offer real-time updates like Familonet and Glympse, but it’s still a great way to organize a night out or keep track of large groups on a foreign vacation.

It has an integrated messaging app, so once you’ve checked in, you can coordinate your plans with nearby people, even if you don’t have their numbers saved in your phone.

Essentially, it’s more casual than the two previous apps but could be useful in certain scenarios.

Download: Foursquare Swarm: Check In (Free)

4. Life360 Family Locator

The Life360 Family Locator uses “Circles” to manage contacts. The Circles work just like Circles in Google Plus Stretching A Circle: 5 Ways To Use Google+ Circles For Personal Productivity Stretching A Circle: 5 Ways To Use Google+ Circles For Personal Productivity Google+ Circles are just that – a circle of friends organized around the way you want to share with them. Think of them as special and specific "drop zones" for stuff. The great thing about... Read More ; you choose what data you share with each group of people. You can add contacts to as many circles as you wish.

Each circle has its own private map, and anyone in the circle can see everyone else’s location. The messaging function lets you instantly communicate with everyone in your circle, but one-to-one messaging is also supported.

Like Familonet, there a “Places” feature. Add your most frequent destinations and your phone will send out an automatic message every time you arrive there.

An attractive premium add-on is the “Driver Protect” feature. It automatically detects when you have a car accident and alerts the emergency services to its location and estimated severity.

Lastly, the Life360 website offers phone tracking in case you’re unlucky enough to get your device stolen.

Download: Life360 Family Locator (Free)

5. GeoZilla Family GPS Locator

GeoZilla is Familonet’s biggest competitor.

The most significant difference between the two is GeoZilla’s social network integration — the app lets you broadcast your location to all your social networks with a simple tap. You can also sync any check-ins you make on Facebook and Swarm back into the app.

One of the app’s strongest features is its location history GoogleLocationHistory: Track Your Location History GoogleLocationHistory: Track Your Location History Read More . It’s perfect for retracing your steps if you’ve lost something or want to recall where you went on a particular day. The free version only saves a few weeks of location history. For an unlimited history, you’ll need to pay $1.50 per month for the premium version of the app.

Another fantastic feature is the shared task lists 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android If you need to keep track of what to do next, these Android apps could be a life saver. Read More . You can add grocery items or appointment reminders to a contact’s list, and assign them to a certain location. As soon as the contact approaches the saved location, they’ll get a notification on their phone to remind them about the tasks.

Download: GeoZilla Family GPS Locator (Free)

Which Apps Do You Use?

Remember, tracking apps don’t have to be privacy destroyers. They can help you keep an eye on your kids What Are the Best Child Tracking Tools and Apps? What Are the Best Child Tracking Tools and Apps? If you're a parent and want to know where your child is at all times, you should try one of these apps. Read More , monitor the well-being of elderly relatives, or even stay close to your friends at music festivals and other large public events. It’s all about context. As long as you remain in control of when and what you’re broadcasting, there is nothing to be worried about.

Now it’s time for you to share your recommendations. How do you monitor the locations of your friends and family? What other apps deserve to be included in my list?

You can leave your suggestions, opinions, and recommendations in the comments box below.

Image Credit: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock.com

Originally written by Steve Campbell on May 10th, 2010.

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  1. sunil
    February 10, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I want to know that, is this possible for iPhone to Android's phone. Is their any app like this.

  2. Nikolett Tóth
    June 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Hey guys! Do you know pozzr.com? They have no iOS version yet, but it works well for me.

  3. Daniël Brito
    June 4, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Have you guys seen App2Find already? I am using it currently and it works great. You can follow your friends on the basic map or with the augmented reality camera option. you can find out more on http://www.app2find.com/explore/

  4. Shash
    May 15, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Is there any android app which i can only install on my Samsung note 2 and still able to find location of my kids???
    I cant install same app on my kids mobile. He is expert in Mobile and He uninstall the same app. He wont allow anyone to handle his mobile.

  5. Cell phone tracker
    June 27, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I think Google latitude is one of the best tracking tools out there to keep track of your friends and family via GPS.

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      I'm showing Google latitude has retired, is this true?

    • Daniël Brito
      June 4, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Yes that is true. Years ago already!

  6. Joel Margulies
    June 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    To Nat Jay, GPS Tracking from LOCiMOBILE for Android or iPhone works internationally. It is currently running in more than 80 countries.

  7. Ex Back
    June 17, 2010 at 8:31 am

    i look this site it is really beautiful!

  8. Steve Campbell
    May 11, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Hmm, you bring up a good point. I'm not sure how the apps work
    internationally, but I'm sure some of them do.

  9. Nat Jay
    May 11, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I checked a few of these apps and most of them seem to be for US cities, or made for the iPhone. I wonder if international tracking apps are available, specially for Asian countries which has such a thriving wireless population.

    • Steve Campbell
      May 11, 2010 at 4:15 am

      Hmm, you bring up a good point. I'm not sure how the apps work
      internationally, but I'm sure some of them do.

  10. Anonymous
    May 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I HAVE A SAMSUNG NO FRILES CELL PHONE AS DOES MY WIFE AND MOST OF MY KIDS.THE PROBLEM IS THEY KEEP MISPLACING THEM OR LEAVING THEM AT SOME ONES HOME. IS THERE A PROGRAM I CAN DOWNLOAD THAT WILL SHOW A MAP OF WHERE THE PHONE IS. THIS IS GETTING EXPENSIVE.

    • Steve Campbell
      May 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      If they are able to install any of the apps above or something similar that can broadcast their position then yes, you should be able to go online to see where the phone is at any given time, provided the battery didn't go dead.

  11. Darin
    May 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Why isn't Google Latitude mentioned? I use this app to keep track of my family.

    • Steve Campbell
      May 10, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      I did mention Google Latitude up above. We've already covered it in an article, so I felt no need to cover it again. I did provide a link, however.

  12. Jennifer Stewart
    May 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    These applications sound really cool (I actually have a couple of them) but at the same time, I'm a little nervous about this technology...what happens if my friend's sister's violent ex-boyfriend gets ahold of her phone and finds me?? This is great stuff, but at the same time it could potentially dangerous.

    • Steve Campbell
      May 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm

      You bring up a good point with this technology Jennifer. A few of these companies are taking security into account by giving you the option to shut off broadcasting or by making you sign in, which is a good thing.