Are you feeling lost among all the location-sharing apps on the market today? There may be a shakeout to come, but for now the leaders are still picking up a sizable number of users — note Foursquare’s 10-million-user milestone this week. And investors are still showing an appetite to fund those that have a unique spin to their service. Today, Glympse, makers of a self-titled mobile app that lets users share their location with others for fixed periods of time, announced a Series B round of funding totaling $7.5 million.
This current round was led by Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners, and as part of the deal Pravin Vazirani from Menlo Ventures and Michelle Goldberg from Ignition will be joining Glympse’s board.
Glympse’s unique spin is that it uses the Phone’s GPS to let users share their location with selected people for set periods of time — say, to alert someone when you are late for a meeting, or when you are trying to find someone in a crowded or unfamiliar area.
A user can determine who sees this and for how long himself — and the movements can be viewed as a trail on a map either on a PC or another mobile device. Locations can be shared by text messages or emails, and via Facebook and Twitter, which seem to have become the default social networks for sharing locations. For now, Glympse’s app is only available for iOS and Android devices.
While Glympse says that it has now reached one million users of its apps, it looks like the real potential will be in how it links up with other apps and content, rather than as a standalone service. You can imagine that — with all the controversy that has swirled around user privacy and location data — a more secure, and better controlled way of offering a location-sharing feature would be an attractive idea to other developers.
But as with all good ideas, giving users a better-controlled location experience could well become a crowded space, too. Just today Nokia (NYSE: NOK) announced that it would integrate its Navteq mapping division with its “social location” service, forming a new Location & Commerce division. And players like Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Facebook and Foursquare likely to make moves in this area too.