Send Your Location Instantly with Zhiing

Zhiing's main menu on my iPhone

Zhiing's main menu on my iPhone

If I need to figure out how to get somewhere, I can use Google Maps on my iPhone. But what if someone else needs to figure out how to get to me? Sure, I can spend a few minutes on the phone describing my whereabouts or giving directions. But unless I can easily pinpoint my location in a couple of words (e.g. Moscone West), Zos Communications makes it so much easier with a free application called Zhiing.

Available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile handsets, Zhiing lets you send your location info to another handset (or a Zhiing-enabled location based service) as easily as you would an SMS message. The recipient with a Zhiing client sees a message in their Zhiing Inbox; others simply get an SMS. Either way, you get a link to whatever map your handset supports (via a browser if need be) and the option of written directions from your location (Zos plans to offer a premium version that will add voice directions for hands-free navigation).

A Zhiing in your inbox shows who's sending their location and a thumbnail map.

A Zhiing in your inbox shows who's sending their location and a thumbnail map.

 

A Zhiing map shows your location using coordinates--and a much more user-friendly pushpin.

A Zhiing map shows your location using coordinates--and a much more user-friendly pushpin.

What’s really impressive about Zhiing is that while it requires GPS, it doesn’t rely on it solely to establish your location. Zos has partnered with Skyhook Wireless, a company whose XPS technology uses GPS, Wi-Fi and cell-tower data to determine your whereabouts. That means you can run Zhiing indoors, even when there’s no GPS signal in range.

Being able to give friends and family members instant maps and directions can be useful, but Zhiing could become even more useful if the platform is taken up by companies whose services involve knowing your location.

I liked the example Zos CEO Jon Ziskind gave me of how Zhiing could make it much easier to get a cab to your home: You wouldn’t even have to call the cab company–you’d simply Zhiing ‘em with your request. Zos says emergency workers are already using Zhiing to locate people in need of help.

Given its platform-agnostic approach, Zhiing seems to have a lot going for it. Check it out when you have a chance.

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1 Comment »

 
  • [...] Also coming: new APIs for other features such as offline storage of data (so that you can use Web apps even when you’re not online), 3D graphics (think first-person-shooter in a browser) and geolocation (Google demo’d a new “My Location” button on Google Maps that you can opt to share with others — hmm, will this supercede Zhiing?). [...]

 

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