New features in Glympse, a location-sharing mobile app I like

For the last year or two I have been using a free location–sharing app on my iPhone called Glympse. It's purpose is simple: when you are driving somewhere to meet someone, the app generates a URL so they can see where you are on a map and track your progress as you are driving.

Today, Glympse introduced a new version of the application, and it has interesting improvements.

Glympse Groups allows users to share and interact via common activities, such as sporting or industry events, meetings or social gatherings. Glympse reveals group members’ real-time locations on a map for a set amount of time, encouraging local interaction and social discovery.

Glympse allows users to automatically schedule location updates to everyone associated with a specific calendar event, virtually replacing the need for “Running Late” or “On my way” emails, texts or phone calls.

When Glympse first debuted, it made it fast and easy for users to “Share Your Where” with others, for a specified period of time without creating yet another network. Now, the new Glympse turns the tables and makes it just as easy to ask your friends, family, and colleagues, “Where are you?” With the new “Request a Glympse” feature, users simply send a request via text or email and recipients can instantly accept and start broadcasting their location for the given time period.

Get Glympse in the App Store and Google Play


  1. Activities such as political protests, perhaps? I’m sure there’s some official interest in this app, as it makes certain spying activities easier by giving them the info on who’s working together. 

  2. All these “connecting” apps are making it really hard to lie about where I really was…I miss the old days…

  3. It does seem a little easier to tell someone you’ll meet them at three outside the movie theatre and then just be there.  Maybe you could call if you’re running really late.

    I have no idea how I survive these days without a smartphone to track all my movements…

  4. Apps like this make me feel like I’m the only person within a hundred mile radius with my particular interests, even when there are ten people ahead of me in line buying tickets to the same movie I’m going to see.

  5. These apps are appealing for some circumstances but I generally leave GPS off for battery reasons. Have others had a similar experience or am I mistaken? Don’t find the novelty warrants the annoyance of cycling GPS on/off. Maybe I can code a scenario into Llama that does this is a smart way automatically … hrm.

  6. I’m a semi-satisfied user of ‘Latitude’, a free Google app. My wife and I (and Google) can see each other’s location. For me, the main use is to assuage my concerns over her long, late evening drive home – I can see when she’s on her way, and be ready to greet her.

    Semi satisfied, since its pretty flaky in terms of availability; it often goes far longer between location updates than is useful. For a while there was a ‘high resolution’ option which would update every 30 seconds or so for up to 15 minutes, but it was pulled a while ago.

    Nixiebunny & Co should realize that merely by having a turned-on cellphone in your pocket, you’re already giving away your location to LEAs. Google claims Latitude doesn’t keep a history unless you ask it to.

    ‘Latitude’ does have the option to let you turn it on or off. It can also lie about your location, so it claims that you’re at Starbucks instead of the Pussycat Lounge.


    1. There is an app to ensure Latitude updates in your idea of a timely fashion.  

      My fave thing about Latitude is those brief (minutes or less) trips of hundreds or thousands of miles it has me making.

  7. I had an idea for an App once. It basically did the exact same this as this. I even had a name for it, called “Convoy”. However when I did a quick 10 second search of the app store, not only did I find an app called convoy, it did exactly that also.

  8. This might be cool for keeping up with free-range kids, teens, and parents with memory loss issues.  It could be that happy medium between letting them go out on their own and supervising them. You could know that your teen is just getting back a little late from the football game without having to call and check up on them (and they’ll know that you know where they are,too, so they better be where they’re supposed to).  You can let your kid ride his bike around the neighborhood and be able to keep tabs on exactly where he’s riding.  We have been using an app called bread crumbs some to allow my mother who’s impaired to walk around the neighborhood a little.  It isn’t nearly as accurate as we’d like it to be,though.  This might be better.

    I wish there was some sort of close proximity version for inside big buildings and events.  Like if I’m at the mall and someone is meeting me there, I could be anywhere in the mall. That’s as far as a map gets them. I’d love if it gave them some sort of “warmer” and “colder” type ping as to where I am.  Or when I’m trying to find a friend at a big crowded outdoor concert.  Just showing that I’m at the festival isn’t helpful enough. 

    1. Yeah sure it will tell your daughter is at the football game but will it tell you she just drank a fifth of JD and is having sex under the bleachers?

  9. Been using Google Latitude for several years to do the same, on our Blackberrys, Iphones & Droids.
    Especially handy for when I’m riding my bike & can’t text my ETA or location – or at least to reassure my wife that I’m not lying in a ditch.
      And yes, you can spoof your location, as well. “Honest, I’ve been home all day. See?”

  10. It may not be obvious, but the differentiating features of Glympse are privacy and control: the tracking only happens when you actively trigger it, and it only lasts for a pre-determined time. The max length is 4 hours and the UI encourages shorter lengths, which means that there’s no social penalty for cagey-ness if you “only” share an hour of tracking with someone.

    As someone who dislikes the feeling of ubiquitous surveillance, even if it’s my friends doing the surveilling, I’ve found Glympse to be comfortable.

    The last differentiator is openness. It doesn’t require the receiver to be using the same brand of phone, or have the app, or even be on a phone. Glympses optionally go out as texts or emails and can be opened in the really good mobile/desktop web interface as easily as they can on the app. 

    That turns out to be surprisingly useful: sending someone a Glympse isn’t a demand that they download or install anything. It’s always useable as long as they have some way of connecting to the internet, so you just don’t have to think about it before sending.

    We sometimes use it to give my girlfriend’s mother (who is notorious for getting to the restaurant early and then stewing) something to play with while she’s waiting for us to get there. Works every time.

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