Have you ever been traveling to meet a friend, or attend an important meeting, and realize that you are going to be late? For many of us, this happens often. There is a free app that you can use to send your current location and an estimated time of arrival. They can track your progress and know exactly when you are going to arrive.
Glympse is an app that promises to help with letting people know that you are going to be late, or letting them know when you are going to arrive. This free app and service also doesn’t require the person on the other end to have the app, just a smartphone or access to the Internet.
Glympse runs as an app on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. It accesses the GPS feature of your phone to determine where you are. It then uses the data connection of the phone to send to the Glympse servers your current location and speed. The process of sending someone your location is called sending him or her a Glympse. Glympse also functions like a dumbed-down navigation app. If you tell the app where you are going, it will provide the person you are sending the Glympse to an estimated time for arrival.
For those concerned about privacy, you can request Glympse not transmit the current speed you are driving, and you do not have to choose a destination to send someone a Glympse.
Sending a Glympse is straightforward. Open the app and you will be presented with a map showing your current location. From there, click the round button in the middle on the bottom. A popup menu will appear with some options; the first one being Send a Glympse.
The New Glympse screen appears, asking who the Glympse should be sent to, how long you want the Glympse to last, a destination location, and a message. Glympse can send your location to a text message, email address, Facebook, or Twitter.
Glympse allows you to set how long you will be traceable for. After the set amount of time, which is 0 minutes to 4 hours, the app will terminate the connection and your location can no longer be tracked. Setting a destination involves either typing in an address or using a points-of-interest database that is built into the app. Finally, if you want to include a customized message to the recipient, you can do so at the bottom.
Pressing the send button then generates a Glympse link. If it is sent through text message or email, the recipient clicks on the link and is taken to Glympse’s website where they can track your progress, see your speed, and peep your destination. If you choose either Facebook or Twitter, the links will be posted to your social networking accounts where anyone can click and track your location.
The beauty of this system is the recipient does not need to have Glympse installed on their phone. The link will open in Safari, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer on the phone and all the information is displayed. This includes the estimated time of arrival, current speed, and more. If the user closes that window, they will be able to see a real-time map of your current location.
From my experience of using the app, the location is delayed by a few seconds. The delay depends on how good of a cell phone connection you have. If you are in an area with 5 bars of LTE signal, there is virtually no delay. In areas where there are only 3G towers, the delay can be up to 30 seconds or more. This means the person can arrive at their destination and still show up as driving down the road.
One downside to the app is that it requires the use of the GPS full-time and the data connection full-time. For those on limited data plans, they need to be mindful of how much free data they have. I have an unlimited data plan from Verizon Wireless so I do no worry about that. The other downside to an always-on connection is that it can drain the battery quickly. I advise anyone to make sure their phone is plugged in if they plan on sending a Glympse that may need to last for an hour or more.
If you arrive at your destination early, you can open Glympse and choose Recent at the bottom of the app. It will show all of the Glympses that were sent recently, and give you the option to expire one if it is still active.
I use Glympse all the time. It is a great tool for letting people know when I will be there if I am coming to visit. Many of my friends live an hour or more away, and being able to provide them with an at-a-glance view of my location can help them in many ways. If they need to run to the store quickly or pick up dry cleaning, they will know if they have enough time to do that.
I also like the app support in some vehicles. Glympse is available in BMW, Mini, and Chevrolet vehicles through their application interface. This makes it easier to send a Glympse when you are driving, reducing distraction and lowering the risk of an accident. Additionally, Glympse is available on the Galaxy Gear smart watch; putting your location on the wrist of the person you are sending the Glympse to.
Overall, Glympse is a fantastic tool that makes it easy to transmit your current location to a friend. But it also takes that a step further, adding useful information that something like Find My Friends on iOS doesn’t. This includes an estimated arrival time, faster updates, and current speed. Glympse also includes some great privacy controls for people who are worried. Posting a Glympse to Facebook or Twitter is opt-in, which means the user has to choose to. Also, the user can end the Glympse early.
Support for Glympse in vehicles is fantastic, and I hope more vehicle infotainment systems support the app in the future. Additionally, I really like that the person I want to send a Glympse to does not have to have the app in order to see where I am at.