Today Strava is making Beacon, its live location-sharing service for athletes, available to everyone, whether you pay for the popular cycle and run-tracking app or not. Beacon sharing from the Strava app was previously only available via subscription, which currently costs $59.99 annually or $5.00 per month. The change follows a massive privacy push by Strava introduced earlier this month.
Beacon sharing can be used for safety and fun. The feature lets you share your live location with up to three people who can track your progress until you finish. They receive a text message with a unique URL that opens in a mobile browser to show your activity in real time (updated every 15 seconds). This can be a life-saving feature for bikers or runners who find themselves in trouble on a secluded road or trail (safety!) while enabling some serendipitous rendezvousing for any friends who might want to you join you mid-course (fun!).
There is one caveat. Strava says that Beacon sharing from connected devices like the Apple Watch and Garmin bike computers will remain a paid feature due to the complexity of supporting such integrations. Only Beacon sharing from the Strava app on your phone is free.
The free Beacon service follows a major overhaul of Strava’s user privacy options a few weeks ago. These include new “privacy zone” features that give users more control over the accuracy and visibility of their GPS tracking maps beyond just their home, and activity-related features to hide data like heart rate and pace on a per-user basis. DC Rainmaker breaks it all down in the video above for anyone interested in the details.