Rally Up for the iPhone is a new location-based social network that puts a very strong emphasis on privacy and also features some innovative new concepts.Without a doubt, location-based services and social networks are one of the hottest topics on the Internet right now. Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and many others are vying for users, but strong privacy concerns are still holding back the mainstream adoption of these kinds of services.
Focus on Privacy
iTunes link) allows you to friend anybody who is a member of the service, it features some nifty privacy settings, which are represented by a slider on every friend's profile. You can choose between four different privacy settings. These range from not sharing information with this person to just seeing this friend's update but not sharing information with them, to giving the contact the full firehose of settings with and without push notifications. The idea here is that you only give your real friends full access to all of your updates, while still giving you the option to follow anybody else on the service - though these users can obviously also choose to not share any information with you. Your own home's location is always private and never shared on the service.While Rally Up (
Just like Gowalla and Foursquare, Rally Up features badges, but the emphasis of the service is more on connecting you to your real friends. Because of this, the Rally Up team also decided not to allow users to syndicate their location feed on Twitter. You can, however, choose to share your location with your Facebook friends. The assumption here, we assume, is that your Facebook friends are more likely to be your "real" friends and that Facebook will keep this data private.
Instead of connecting to Twitter, Rally Up emphasizes private microblogging on the service itself. Rally Up allows you to send short text messages to your friends, but you can also attach photos to any location.
I'm On My Way
Besides focusing on privacy, Rally Up also included some interesting innovations in its service that aren't available in most of the current crop of popular location-based services yet.
While most services only allow you to check in once you have arrived at a location, Rally Up also allows you to send out a notification when you are on your way to a venue. You can also set up temporary locations, which is quite useful when you go to a party at somebody's house, for example.
The app, which, by the way, is very well designed, doesn't focus so much on venues as on connecting people. This is a nice departure from quite a few of the location-based social networks we have recently seen.
Overall, Rally Up represents a very nifty take on the location-based social networking model and we especially like the company's focus on privacy.