Glympse: Location Alert App for Smart Phones

This is one of those iPhone apps that fills a need most people didn’t know they had.  Its implementation is as close to perfect as I could imagine, and it brings functionality that all smart phones should ship with out of the box.  What it does, its does simply, it does cleanly, and it does very well.  And best of all— it does it for free.

The question to start an app review with is normally simple: What does the app do?  In this case, I think it’s easier to give an example of where and when Glympse can be used.  This makes the app a lot easier to explain.

So consider this situation…  You are running late for a meeting and you want to give the other meeting attendees a heads up about where you are and how long it will take for you to get to the meeting.  It’s a fair amount on information to convey especially if you are already on the run and already running late.  You could call and explain to the party on the other end.  But that could be awkward and end up being a longer conversation than you can deal with.  You could text, but that’s hard to do in a moving vehicle (whether you are driving or not (don’t text while driving!)).  And one text message could easily turn into a back and fourth volley that you don’t have time for.

Enter Glympse!  Glympse makes all of the pertinent information amazingly easy to pass to others.  The app sends your current GPS location to recipients so they can see where you are in real time.  This includes your current speed and updates your current position as you move.  No need to explain what is going on.  The person receiving the Glympse message knows where you are and has great insight into how long it will take you to arrive.  No fuss, and no discussion needed.  Just the facts of the situation and real time updates as time goes on.

Once you install Glympse on your smart phone, just launch the app and tap the Send button.  You just add the recipient contacts to the message by selecting them from your address book, and you can send the message in a matter of seconds.  But there are a number of useful options that are worth a moment to consider.  First, you can set an expiration time for the Glympse: the number of minutes or hours the recipient can use the message to track your location.  You can add a message to the Glympse.  Just select from a list of predefined options to make your life easier (you’re in a hurry and running late after all).  Last of all, you have the ability to specify a destination.  This is as easy as selecting an address from your address book.  And with this info added to the message, the person receiving the message seeing the destination plotted on the map along with your progress.

All said, Glympse makes it easy to convey a great deal of information with a few simple taps of the phone.  And you can send the Glympse message to your recipient’s smart phone by simply selecting their cell number from your address book.  Or you can send it via email.  Or, if you are like me, you might send it to the recipients phone and email just so they have the ease of access regardless of where they are.  If they only have access to the phone, that’s great.  But if they are in front of their computer, they can open up a large map and keep track of it while they go about their business.

Since each Glympse has an expiration time attached to it, there’s no worry that you are forever giving up your current location.  Once the Glympse expires, the recipient no longer has the ability to voyeuristically keep tabs on your location.  Attention to detail was obviously a main bullet point for the app developer.  The app even lets you pull up a list of currently active Glympse messages and makes it easy to expire them prematurely.  So, just because you told your boss they could see your current location for the next 3 hours, you can go into that Glympse and expire it early.

Glympse fills a simple need.  And it fills it well.  Its only detriment is that I suspect it fills a need that most users don’t know they have.  But once you use it, it really has the ability to change the way users leverage their smart phones.  And, possibly best of all, Glympse isn’t just an iPhone app.  It’s also available for Andriod and Windows Mobile.  So regardless of whom you are sending a Glympse, they will be able to see your location and your progress.

Download Glympse, watch a video demo, or read more about the app at  It’s easy to envision a day when this sort of app is standard on all phone platforms.  It just that useful and easy to use!

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One Response to Glympse: Location Alert App for Smart Phones
  1. Tom H. Reply

    This is great. I used it last night to let the wife know when I would be home from an offsite job. She could tell when I was close to home, and it made coordinating dinner much easier!

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