Give friends a Glympse into your location

Ronny Kerr · June 22, 2011 · Short URL:

Location-sharing company raises $7.5 million Series B for fresh approach to LBS

The future is so creepy.

While much of the discussion related to location-based services has swirled around applications like Foursquare, which allow you to check into the restaurant, bar or whatever place you’re at, that’s really just the beginning. Taken to its logical conclusion, the true power of location is being able to broadcast where you are at every single moment.

Who would willingly sign up for such a surrendering of privacy? A lot of people, actually. One million people alone have signed up for Glympse, an application that does just that.

And now some investors are betting that a lot more people will want to get in on the action.

The location-sharing company announced Wednesday that it has closed $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners.

Glympse, aiming to work around privacy concerns associated with location, offers users unique features that let them share their location only with a specific group of people and only for a set amount of time. For example, if you’re on your way to work, you can give your co-workers a 30-minute “Glympse” into your trip; if you hit traffic, they’ll know in real-time.

Or, on the way back from the office, give your family a “Glympse” into your route home; as they watch you travel from their computer screen, they can see that maybe you stopped at the grocery store, and that’s why you’re not home yet.

The app, which is currently available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry, is also integrated into social media via Facebook and Twitter. Set a timer and share your location with family, friends and/or followers with ease.

Of course, Glympse isn’t the only one offering this kind of location sharing service. The biggest player in the space must be Google Latitude, which by last December had already been downloaded a reported nine million times. The difference with Latitude is that it tracks you where you go, all the time, unless you specifically turn off tracking.

Glympse may have a upperhand with its emphasis on the timer and sharing with only a select group of people.

Here's the response I received from Brian Trussel, Glympse CEO and co-founder, when I asked about how his company compares to Google Latitude:

We're quite different. Most other location services concentrate on having a pre-set, small social network of permanent 'location sharing' friends. Or at the other extreme, of broadcasting your check-ins to the world. They are about serendipity, "Oh, I didn't know you were at the coffee shop around the corner". Or, "Hey everyone, I'm at Starbucks!"

At Glympse, we're the other end of the serendipity spectrum. We are a purpose based location sharing service. The everyday  "Where are you?", "I'm on my way", "Let's meet here for lunch" scenarios.  We are focused on simple, situational location sharing. It's why we are time based. It's why we don't require a sign up, or a login, or a list of 'location-friends'. For example, you can use Glympse when you're on your way to a first time meeting with a client. They don't need any software, and don't even need to know what Glympse is. It's a great first time experience. We have no social network to maintain, no privacy controls to fuss with.  Other services will have a much longer feature set, but also are much more complex to understand, use, and manage.

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