AT&T just launched FamilyMap, the company's newest iPhone app, which allows you to track the location of your family members directly on your iPhone. The app (iTunes link) allows you to see the exact location of your cellphone toting family members. You can also set up recurring alerts, which allows you to check if your child arrived at school in the morning, for example. Given that this is an AT&T app, it doesn't come as a surprise that the service is only available if you pay a monthly subscription fee. Tracking the location of two phones costs $9.99 per month. For $14.99 per month, you can track up to five phones.
While AT&T already offered this service, you were only able to see your family member's location by using a desktop computer. Now, you can just use your iPhone to see a map with your family member's location. Your family members don't need to have an iPhone for this service to work. Most AT&T phones now support this feature. If your phone doesn't have a built-in GPS chip, AT&T will estimate a phone's location based on data from nearby cellphone towers.
Interestingly, this launch comes just one day after Apple itself got a patent for a method of sharing location data during a phone call. While Apple's method is completely permission-based, though, AT&T's system isn't. Instead, any FamilyMap enabled phone - once you activate the service - will send location data back when requested, without prompting the receiver for confirmation. Given that AT&T is mostly marketing this service to parents, this makes sense, though some people (including children and teenagers) will surely feel a bit uneasy about this feature.