Review: BlackLine Blip and GPS Snitch

BlackLine 7We talked with Patrick Rousseau from BlackLine back at WES, and now we’ve had a chance to give their products a go. GPS was a big thing at WES, which worked out well for BlackLine, since they were finalizing their location sharing service at the time. Blip is software for your BlackBerry 8800 which not only allows you to share your location with friends through Google Maps, but it also lets you track BlackLine’s GPS puck, Snitch, from your handheld. The web-based client for Blip accessed through BlackLine’s website gives you a few more functions and account management, and is where your friends can do their tracking. The GPS Snitch offers e-mail alerts whenever it moves and the alarm is set, mainly so you’ll know if your car’s being stolen and can quickly find the ne’er-do-well’s GPS coordinates. We’ll be looking at all three (web client, BlackBerry client and GPS puck) for this review, so let’s get crackin’.

Keep in mind Blip is still officially in beta - plenty can change before their commercial release.

BlackLine 2Presentation
On the whole, BlackLine has a pretty cool style going, and it shows in their products. The Blip software is simply laid out, and with a catchy tagline like “Share your where”, who could resist? The web layout is clean, although my mom had a few issues figuring out how to track my 8800 from her end. (It’s for the best, I really don’t want her to know where I am anyway. {Love you, mom.}) The Snitch is a bit weird in shape, and the buttons are positioned so they might be pushed if it got jostled the wrong way. During testing, we actually had the Snitch get accidentally shut off in transit, which put an end to our tracking. There’s nothing to really secure it wherever you put it, either - no loop, no grip on the bottom, so odds of it moving around in your car without being braced is high.

BlackLine 3Integration
Blip on both the 8800 and web browser piggyback their mapping onto another service to really impressive effect. BlackBerry Maps puts down pegs at individual locations in your history, but you can access up to 100 locations on one screen when using Google Maps on the web browser. Also, you can map those locations simultaneously on the website, while you’ve got to pop each one individually on your BlackBerry. Another discrepancy between desktop and handheld Blip is, when the Snitch got accidentally turned off we could turn it back on remotely through the website, but not on the BlackBerry. Some lines connecting the blips would be helpful in drawing the path that your 8800 took, and shouldn’t be too hard implement since time data is included with the locations. It would be nice to see more of those features crammed into the handheld, but I guess you can’t have everything in a beta.

11 Responses to “Review: BlackLine Blip and GPS Snitch”

  1. 1 Dr B. Quest

    FYI: Felony in California if you put it on/in a car w/o the owner knowing. Yup, many stalkers were just seriously disappointed.

  2. 2 SKhan

    It can work both ways good and bad at the same time. I guess it would be cool to see where in your city or block your pals are. However, if your boss knowns that you puts Blip on your BlackBerry he can see where you are as well. Kind of kills that opportunity to grab a long lunch break when you are out of the office working.

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