Sup is a hyperlocal mobile app that makes it easier to connect with friends who happen to be close by at any given moment. Nearby contacts are shown on a radar so that you can explore your area for pals or the app can be configured to provide notifications when people reach a certain proximity. When you discover someone close, you can send them a “Sup” text or record an audio note.
The app does a good job avoiding the security & privacy vulnerabilities by only showing general location in terms of “within X meters away” rather than providing pinpoint accuracy. Users can also “go dark” Jack Bauer style by temporarily disabling the location services to drop off the radar.
The key element of privacy though, and the ultimate utility of the service, like any social network, relies entirely on how many of your friends are using the app; in order to see your nearby friends, they must have downloaded and enabled Sup. If you don’t have any friends on Sup, and/or no one is nearby, you’re stuck starting at an empty, pulsing radar screen – a sad reminder that we are all alone in this isolated digital world. Sup? *sniff*
There are a few other entries into the hyperlocal map & chat space, including the quietly launched Google side project Who’s Down which consists of a simple toggle that a user can switch when they are, well, down to hang out. There’s also Connect, which is a similar play to Sup, except they actually display the friends’ locations on a map.
Sup is based on London, England and is co-founded by Rich Pleeth, Robin Gadsby and Alan Fayolle. They launched in March of this year and in October raised $1.1 million in seed funding. The product is out of beta and free to download/use though the App Store – Sup is not yet available on Android.