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Have you heard of Glympse yet? I had a chance to install and use it for the first time last night on my Android. Been experimenting with the Samsung Galaxy S3 the past few weeks, and the speed and immediacy of this phone has been nothing but awesome, which makes it perfect to play with this new app called Glympse.
In a nutshell, Glympse is GPS taken to a level that I’ve always believed mobile devices were born to do. My explanation of Glympse is this: You’re on your way home after a business dinner and want to let your significant other know you’re done with dinner, and you’re on your way. You could text or call, which is what I’ve always done. Not taking anything away from the basics, those two options still work fine.
But Glympse blows them out of the water. Using your phone’s built-in GPS, you send a “Glympse” to whomever you want – a friend, multiple people, even Twitter or Facebook. You choose a “length” of the Glympse – 5 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever. You hit send, and Glympse, via your choice or SMS, email, or social network, sends an alert to whomever you choose, with your message that you’re on your way home – But here’s where it gets scarily awesome, or awesomely scary: It keeps your phone GPS active for the amount of time you specify, and the recipient is given a link where they can track you, in real time, to your destination.
Think about that for a second: It’s not FourSquare or Facebook Places, where you check in to a place and you’re “presumed” there until you check in somewhere else… This is real-time tracking – “I’m headed home now,” and the recipient can watch your little blue dot, on a map, in real-time, as you make your way to “home,” or to “the office,” or to wherever you say you’re going.
I’ve been using a similar device for all my races for the past several years. I call it the “keep my Jewish mom calm” device – Whenever I’m running some ridiculously long race that by all rights should kill me, at least my mom can follow me in almost-real-time and see that I’m not dead. But this is an app! That changes the game. There’s 50% of me that is shaking with awesomeness because this is exactly what the new world is supposed to be – where honesty rules the day – “I’m on my way home” actually means that you’re on your way home, and not “I’ll be at this strip club for another two hours.” It’s real-time GPS tracking, available to anyone, from your device, for free.
The other 50% of me, however, is shaking with questions. I speak to companies all the time, and explain that in the world we’re in now, you can’t lie anymore. Between surveillance cameras every five feet to everyone having a camera in their phone, the old way of doing business is dead. Glympse not only proves that, but brings it to a whole new level:
If this app (or any of the others that are sure to follow) goes mainstream (and it probably will,) then it becomes about trusting a company to stick true to their end-user agreement, and NOT use the info we’re voluntarily giving them (which is deeper and more personal than anything before it) for evil. We have to trust that any company who makes an app like this, that we willingly install, is going to be honest with us and only share our real-time movements with the people we choose to share them with, unless they tell us otherwise.
It makes you think, huh?
I read the end-user license to which Glympse required I agree when I installed the app, and it’s logical, and not scary at all. So I gave it a shot – And I let my wife know I was on my way home last night, and if she’d seen the text Glympse sent her, she could have tracked my movements in real-time as I made my way back to my place. And that’s awesome. It’s beneficial, and not only for what I used it for – It’s useful in so many ways – “I’ll be back in the office in five minutes, I’m stuck in traffic, keep the client there!” or, “Show Timmy the map and let him know dad is on his way home from the airport after his business trip,” etc… The sheer simplicity of this app makes the benefits plainly obvious. And with just one use, I’m a fan.
But – I’m relying on Glympse to be honest. And I believe they will, because this app presents a major leap for the average user. It’s one thing to “check-in” to a location, or claim a discount by posting your location on Facebook. It’s something entirely different when you give an app the ability to track your movements in real-time, and, let’s face it, once those movements are tracked, they’re… well, there. Just because you made it to your destination and your GPS shuts off doesn’t mean that the tracking data necessarily goes away. And that’s where Glympse is going to have to prove themselves. The second they don’t, their credibility goes out the window. I believe that if Glympse does, and our data stays within the parameters we’re told, we’re looking at the beginning of a new use for our smartphones – One that in my opinion, can be very beneficial to the end user in both a personal and professional environment.
In a little bit of personal connection, my third book is coming out in January, and it’s all about how companies that are now leading the way, those who are the most successful, are doing so because they’re following the path of good – they’re telling the truth, they’re caring, they’re no longer following the “eat your young and win no matter who you screw over” mentality. If Glympse does that as well, then I’m betting this app will succeed and quite possibly become a major game-changer in the mobile space.
What say you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
DISCLOSURE: I have no relationship with any of the companies I mention here. other than: Samsung sent me their Galaxy S3 free of charge for me to test out. I found Glympse through a Facebook post I happened to see from one of my friends who posted their Glympse data on their wall.