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Glympse Provides Live Tracking for Road Trips


history I first used Glympse on an eleven hour road trip – hauling my 2 and 4 year-old girls from Philadelphia to Charlotte – without their mother.   It was readily apparent how mature the app is.  And how perfectly suited it is for temporarily sharing location information with a concerned mother.

The real-time updating is the killer feature – once people see the arrow moving across their screen they’re hooked. And of course, Glympse runs in the background while you’re using other apps – not that you would or should while driving.

Inviting others to view your location – sending a Glympse – is quick and simple.  The app has direct access to your iPhone Contacts and can send the invite via email or sms.  You can drop a group of people into a single Glympse invite and optionally extend its duration as the expiration approaches.

One of my favorite features:  The history page displays a list of contacts with active invitations – along with the last time they checked on your whereabouts.  In seconds!   I got into a “You didn’t know that I know that you know where I am?” with one watcher.   Additionally, many people checked in on my status every few minutes for the better part of eleven hours.  Some said they were mesmerized at the live updating, watching the arrow that represented the girls and myself zoom across their web browser map – as we hurtled down the Interstate.

When you send a Glympse to an iPhone user they can keep tabs on you in Safari, or get additional features by having the Glympse app installed.  The web page has a button offering to display your location in the Glympse app, which will open automatically.

Computer users track you using a Flash web page that live-updates your position.

Glympse provides many useful features.  You can share via Twitter or Facebook.  You can also save a group of people to a favorites list to use again.  A Glympse invite expires after a maximum of four hours but you can extend it any time before it ends.  Of course you can also expire a Glympse invite early.

The Glympse page suggests using the service to let someone know you’re running late or as a social tool.  I can see the running late part – if meeting up with someone as geeky as you.  I’m not inclined to use it for social networking purposes, but that’s probably because I’m old.history

If you’ve got parents or grandparents who worry while you’re on the road this might keep their phone call count at reasonable levels.  At one point we stopped at a rest area  in Virginia – barely separated from the Interstate.  We were there a long time (remember – 2 and 4 year old girls)  and Mrs. Murphy thought maybe we’d run off the road – so she called.  Other than that she spent the day hypnotized by the little green arrow.

I would have loved to use Glympse last month in Ireland.  But I’m not paying international data rates !  Future post: Why Isn’t International Roaming Affordable?

Without a doubt I’ll use Glympse to keep people updated on my next road trip.  It’s free on the App Store, so give it a try.  There’s also Glympse for Windows Mobile and Android.

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