Telenav’s Scout GPS navigation app goes social with real-time location sharing, group chat and more

Telenav’s Scout GPS navigation app goes social with real-time location sharing, group chat and ...

Earlier this year, navigation company Telenav announced that its US-focused mobile Scout app was switching to OpenStreetMap from TomTom for all its mapping data. And today, Scout is being given a slew of nifty new features with a focus firmly on social.

Scout will now offer real-time location and ETA sharing with third-parties, so you can see exactly where you and others are on a route. This is actually similar to a Glympse integration Nokia recently introduced for its own HERE maps for Android.

Elsewhere, Scout is pushing out into the broader event meet-up realm with pretty powerful social features geared towards letting you organize events with contacts, including time, day and location. So you can basically see where everyone is in relation to the agreed meeting point.

Android Map-Meetup Screenshot
Android Accept-Invite Screenshot

You’ll also be able to indulge in group chats with event attendees directly within the app, saving you from launching WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

Those using the iPhone incarnation are being treated to an extra special feature – predictive, personalized traffic reports. The idea here is that when you’re heading to a familiar address that doesn’t require GPS navigation (e.g. a friend’s house, work, the local shopping mall), you can schedule in traffic report updates for regular routes, so you receive push notifications with details of any potential travel hiccups.

Only time will tell how popular these features prove with Scout’s loyal band of merry users. Some might say that by trying to do too much, shoehorning features in that may actually be better suited to standalone entities such as Glympse or WhatsApp, this in some way detracts from the core usability – vis-à-vis its status as a GPS navigation app.

These updates only apply to Scout for now which means it’s restricted to US markets, and there’s no word yet on whether Telenav’s recently-acquired European property, Skobbler, will be getting the features too. However, Rohan Chandran, president and general manager of Telenav’s mobile division, tells us:

“We do very much see Scout as a global experience in the long term. We are on a continuous path of feature consolidation, as appropriate, across the US and international apps – both in terms of visible experience and under the hood.”

So longer term, these features may start to appear in Telenav’s international properties. But for now, only those living in the US will be able to enjoy them.

Scout [Android | iOS]

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