Palringo Limited has released an update to their rich iPhone messaging application with some very interesting new features.

     Now, if an iPhone user wants to know if any of their friends are near them, all they have to do is look at their screen, thanks to the addition of location functionality.

     Parlingo claims to be the one of the first rich messaging service that offers the ability to easily exchange text, voice and picture messages with friends, family and colleagues across all popular instant messaging services, just like BeeJive! These include, iChat, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messanger, Gadu-Gadu, ICQ, Jabber and MSN Messanger.

     The voice feature is pretty nifty in itself, as it is very similar to Push-to-Talk, or using walkie talkies. Simply hold down the talk button, say your message and send it. It works great with MSN buddies, tried and tested. You will need to sign up for a free account with Parlingo, which can be done through the app itself. Then all you need to do is start adding the services that you use.

     In the new version, when you scroll through your buddy list, you will be able to see your friends current location, and, how far away that person is from you. This obviously only works with your friends that have an iPhone, but could be quite useful for locating, say, a “missing” spouse, as long as they do not deactivate the location service.

     Parlingo have said that their next release will include a maps section that will display all your iPhone buddies within a 10km radius. It will also allow the user to display their own location on a map.

     In a statement released by Kerry Ritz, Palringo’s CEO, she says;

     “Just knowing where someone is can be really useful, and knowing how far away they are is even better. The prospect of knowing where someone is before you start adds a whole new dimention to your conversation.”

     “It can eliminate worry and will probably mean the end of a lot of unnecessary “Where are you?” calls. And soon you’ll pretty much be able to watch your friend, a few minutes late for your rendezvous, approaching on a map.”