Are you on Whrrl yet?

What an exciting day it has been for us here at Pelago, as the Apple app store launches on iTunes and people begin to discover Whrrl on their iPhones. I am personally excited because, as some of you already know, I have been without a phone for a couple of months and I will be ditching Verizon tonight and getting myself a brand-spanking-new iPhone 2.0

Come check out Whrrl and friend me! Even if you don’t have an iPhone there are lots of other ways to take advantage of Whrrl. Whrrl supports a lot of phones, and if you navigate to m.whrrl.com in your mobile browser you can find out which version to download for yours (it will detect what kind of phone you have). Another option, if you’re into texting, is to use SMS with Whrrl. And then there’s the “old skool” approach, to use the website.

One reason I love the website (over the mobile and iPhone app) is that it really takes advantage of the screen real estate a larger monitor presents, and gives you a gorgeous map loaded with icons that are relevant to you.

For all the different ways to use Whrrl, I think the filter is just so powerful. The filter I like most is the ability to say “only show me places that are open in 1 hour” so I can make sure a place is still going to be open by the time I get there if I leave shortly, but I don’t have to set a certain range of hours. I work on content acquisition so I’m damn proud of the fact that our ability to collect accurate business hours and happy hours is being exposed through this feature. The data team rocks! (just sayin’)

And about privacy, because of course people have been talking about stalkers. There is a combination of rational concern about privacy, but also a fair amount of fear mongering and anti-technology talk out there that I have a hard time understanding. In response to the rational concerns, there are robust privacy features that work. Period. To the other people, I don’t know what to tell them; I think a good first step is to take a good look at the Whrrl privacy policy and the security settings, because a lot of thought has gone into them. You will find that you completely control who sees your location in Whrrl.

The way I use the privacy settings in Whrrl is pretty simple: I only show my location to people I’d be willing to invite over to my house, and for my “internet friends” I just don’t share. It’s nice because it basically shows my friends all my other activities (reviews, meetups, notes and stuff) but it just leaves my checkins off their Whrrld feed. As I get to know people better, I can add them to the list of people who can see my location – and my goal is to get more and more people on that list because that means I’m making more and more real world friends. And, for me anyway, that’s what this is ultimately about – reconnecting with the real world with the help of technology. That integration between being tech savvy and also having a social life, that seems so elusive sometimes.

* Lil Disclaimer: This isn’t the official Whrrl blog or Pelago blog, this is just Danielle Morrill and all the opinions expressed herein are my own. I work for Pelago, the company bringing Whrrl to people everywhere, so I am biased. *

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