Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Request Backup

Let's just say you are walking to your car.  You're alone, and there's no one nearby.  It's dark...but did I just see someone hiding there...?

You get the picture, and it's creepy as hell.  If you're in danger and there's no one around to hear you scream or call for help, wouldn't it be nice if you could just push a button and someone would know you're in trouble?

I was approached after last weekend's ladies-only class by a student who showed me a new app she's created, and it is that button.  I am very excited about this.

The app is called Guardian Trace.  

So let's go back to that dark parking lot. Having previously estimated it would take you 4 minutes to reach your car, you had set your GT app for 4 minutes and kept your phone handy.  

That someone you realize an assault is about to you!!  

If you have time, you push the panic button on your phone, since you were clever enough to keep it handy and the app ready.  An immediate email or text is sent to whoever you wish to know you are in danger.  The notice tells this person (or people) that you've activated the alarm and includes a link with your current location.  If they click the link your phone's GPS indicates exactly where you are right now.

If the attack was a blitz and you didn't have time to activate the alarm, it will automatically send the email or text as soon as the 4 minute timer (or however long you've programmed) is up.

The GPS aspect is particularly essential if, God forbid, they are taking you to a second location.  

No, this app will not call 911 for you.  You should still do that if you can, and the person contacted by the app should do so as well.  

The usefulness of Guardian Trace, as I see it, is that if you don't have time to call 911, if you don't even have time to push a button, the app calls for help for you.  This is crucial when an attack is sudden or when you simply can't get your hands on your phone.

For goodness sake if you start the timer and you're safe remember to deactivate it or you'll scare everyone half to death.

Full disclosure:  As of the writing of this post I have nothing to do with these people, I just like the app.  

Guardian Trace is free.  If you just want email alerts, it stays free.  If you want text alerts (which I think seems like the way to go, since who knows when people will check their email) it's $10 for six months, and more for one year.  I don't remember how much more, because I bought 6 months worth of service.

If you're wondering if the GPS means Guardian Trace would make a good tool for stalkers, it won't.  The owner of the phone has to activate everything herself or himself, and you can't secretly put it on someone's phone.  So if you're looking for a tool to help you stalk people more efficiently, keep looking.

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