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Life360 Wins Google Prize

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Light Reading
9/3/2008
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BERKELEY, Calif. -- Life360 was selected as a first place winner in the Google Android Developer Challenge, an international competition that vetted the best applications for Google’s upcoming Android mobile operating system. Life360 was one of the top 10 companies to be awarded $275,000. Out of 1,788 entries, it was the only winning emergency messaging and preparedness application.

Life360’s application automatically notifies families about emergency events and can send messages to selected family members even if most infrastructure has failed. Unlike alerts from previous notification systems, Life360 alerts are customized to each user; as an example, they can convey the location of the nearest shelter via turn-by-turn locations to the site using the phone’s GPS. The GPS system also allows users to track their family members’ locations in real-time.

With Life360’s community network, users can ask for help as well as assist others using a location-based request system. For example, if a user pushes the panic button on their phone, all other users nearby are notified of the event and receive streaming audio and video from the victim’s camera, allowing them to instantly assess the situation. Use of the network is not limited to major emergencies; users can post requests for relatively minor incidents like missing pets, or to let others nearby know that they have a resource or skill that may be useful for a given event.

Because the Community Network uses GPS technology, all posts have a physical location on the map, and users have the option of making alerts visible only to those nearby. While using mobile phones to communicate in emergencies is not a new concept, Life360 leverages smartphone technology to provide what the company believes represents the future of emergency and community preparedness. The service is built on a multi-channel messaging system that keeps users connected with their families, and a community network that allows neighborhoods to overcome challenges as a group. Life360 defines a Community Network is one that constantly runs in the background, but is available when needed.

“With a string of natural disasters in the last few years, and as we watch Hurricane Gustav make its way across the Southern US, we are again reminded of the importance of being properly prepared for natural disasters,” said Chris Hulls, CEO of Life360. “Life360’s application and the Android platform demonstrate how technology can make overcoming these challenges orders of magnitude easier, faster and more effective, potentially saving lives in the process.”

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

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