What Is Loopt? An Intro to the Location-based Service

What You Need to Know About the Location-based Service

Holding a Smartphone in the Street
Photo © Tooga / Getty Images

Update: Loopt was acquired in 2012 Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million. Its website has been taken down and the service is no longer available.

If you'd like to find out more about location-based services that are still available, check out the following resources:

Wondering about Loopt? Even though it's now just another web service from the past that got swept up and acquired by another company, you may want to reminisce about it a bit if you were an avid user.

Like Foursquare, Loopt was a location-based service that used a phone's GPS technology to allow users to check into various real-world locations and find nearby friends. It offered user the ability to control different parts of their privacy while also giving them the opportunity to connect with other popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

How Loopt Came to Be

Loopt was started in 2005 when Stanford students Sam Altman and Nick Sivo launched a prototype with the help of seed funding from Y Combinator. Loopt was an early player in the location-based service game, finding distribution through partnerships with carriers like Boost and Sprint.

How Loopt Worked

Loopt was a standalone app that users could download for free to their devices. After downloading and installing it, a user could check into any nearby location detected via their device's GPS system. Upon check in, users can see who else was at a venue, look at photos related to the venue, read tips left by visitors or even get discounts. The Loopt Star product was rolled into their flagship app along with their association with and discounts from major brands.

Loopt as Group Messenger

Like others on the list, Loopt could help users find nearby friends and published check-ins to Facebook and Twitter. Loopt also pulled in some of the best features of group messaging products, like geo-based text messaging and photo sharing.

Loopt Platforms

Loopt was available on Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 and iPhones.

Location-based Services Today

Loopt may have been a goodie, but the world of location-sharing has changed since it was still available and used by many. Foursquare is perhaps the big location app that has seemed to make it mostly thanks to the data it had, although had to split its app by launching its Swarm app dedicated to social activity.

Today, almost every major social network has its own location tagging feature. You can check into locations on Facebook, add a location to a tweet on Twitter, tag your Instagram photo or video to a location and even put fun geotag images on your Snapchat messages.