Obviously it’s a trend now to connect with people by sharing location on smartphones. Instead of checking everyone’s availability back and forth, a location sharing app sends real-time notifications of people who are near and makes it easier for you to meet up with them spontaneously. Yeah, you might have heard of Facebook’s nearby Friends, Foursquare’s new swarm or maybe Connect. Today I’m trying a new one called Blleep.

To be honest, I myself have never been a fan of location apps before, not even when check-in was still fun years ago. When I first met Blleep I was a bit surprised why these guys are so enthusiastic about social location. The team behind Blleep are three good friends who have known each other since high school from China and studied in the US colleges. They feel it necessary for people in the digital age to meet up and hang out with friends in person. “People are having too many ‘friends’ on Facebook who they barely meet, and we would like to help by building a tool that connects people both online and offline,” said one of the co-founders Chi Xue.

Basically Blleep shows how many of your friends are near your location and helps you to set up meet-ups or events with them instantly by voice messages. The whole process of creating an event, having nearby friends notified and joining is quite smooth and quick. Here’s a video explaining how it works.

There is one thing special about Blleep is that it tracks people’s location while still taking care of the privacy. “Currently most location apps constantly track user’s location and even make it public as social feed to everyone in his friends list. We only allow users to see the number of the friends who are around, without revealing any personal information. The identities of the friends who are interested will only show once he accepts the invitation,” explained Xue when asked about the privacy control of Blleep.

“We’ve noticed that some location apps would ask the users to turn off the location tracking to control privacy, which we think is a burden to the users. If the user has to keep an eye on who’s checking their location by themselves, it won’t be fun and easy any more.” Blleep believed that privacy matters when people are sharing locations and socialising with friends.

The team have finished the development within six months in college and have just launched the app on app store last month. Speaking of future plans, they revealed some partnerships with local merchants where people are likely to meetup with Blleep. You can talk to the team here or download the app to have a try.

By the way they are based in Silicon Valley and they are holding interesting events using Blleep every week.

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com

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