U.S. News

Finally, A Snitch That Makes Life Easier

Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer

Worried your car might get stolen? Want to keep track of your loved ones? With "Snitch" you can pinpoint the location of your vehicle, or someone else's, anywhere, anytime.

Patrick Rousseau, President of BlackLine GPS, has the details.

What is Snitch?
It's the wave of the future. It's GPS tracking for securing everything you have. It's what people want — portability, ease of use, straight-out-of-the-box tracking. When it comes to stealing a vehicle no one cares about sirens, no one even cares about breakins unless it's their own car. We've empowered the owner — who's the only who cares — to track their belongings.

The other part that's great is that we've built a little social networking jewel inside the product. Friends and family can participate.

Why not just get LoJack?
LoJack will only communicate to the Police. GPS Snitch allows any consumer to accurately pinpoint the location of the vehicle.

Give us an example of how Snitch works?
Let's say your parents go on an RV trip. They can protect the RV with Snitch. But also you can see where they are. Maybe you don't want to call, but you want to make sure that they haven't gone off schedule, that they're OK, or that they could make it to your brother's house before dinner.

Is it only for vehicles?
It was built with vehicles in mind. But it can be used in bookbags, briefcases or suitcases. You could, for example, track the school bus, so you know what time to pick up your kid.

Another cool application is for businesses with representatives out in the field. Say you have a sales force out on the road. Snitch will allow whoever is managing it to see exactly where everybody is at all times.

Do buildings pose a problem to tracking?
There are limits due to buildings, but let's say you are tracking your lost luggage. Airports are actually pretty open spaces. The luggage belts go in and out, and there are lots of entrances and exits. If your suitcase is in Denver when it's supposed to be in Atlanta you will be able to figure that out.

How long does the charge last?
The charge will last about a week. If you keep arming, tracking, etc. it'll be less. And you can arm it on the device, on the Web, on your cellphone or on your Blackberry.

Where did you get your start-up funding?
We funded the company ourselves and just recently secured an angel investment group.

Are you selling lots of Snitches? Are you making money?
The company started in 2004. The first Snitch went on sale in July 2007 in Canada. There are about 2,500 units out there right now. We're in the U.S. market through J.C. Whitney (an auto-related Web site) but we are expanding through Best Buy and Auto Zone. We expect to break even in the next month or month and a half.

Do you have other GPS applications in the works?
We have Blip, a piece of software for your Blackberry that enables you to share your location with other Blackberry users. Say your friend is down the block. He can let you know that and you can meet up for coffee.

We are also working on a Snitch for boating. It can't have the same motion sensor technology as a vehicle on land.