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Glympse Adds Real-time Location Tracking to Facebook

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Glympse today added Facebook support to its user-controlled location-based personal tracking service on its iPhone (s aapl) and Android (s goog) software. Previously, the Glympse client could only send a user’s whereabouts to friends via an email, SMS or Twitter link that opened a mobile browser window to show location data for a specific time. The updated service now supports real-time mapping directly in a Glympse user’s Facebook page. The dynamic map indicates location, speed and the estimated time of arrival if a destination is entered within Glympse.

Normally, the idea of having one’s location tracked or broadcast raises valid privacy concerns. But as Glympse has told us before — the company presented as a LaunchPad participant at our Mobilize ’09 event — it offers total user control to alleviate privacy issues. Instead of an “always on” tracking approach, Glympse users specify when to enable tracking, for how long and with whom to share the location data. Having used the service, I can best sum it up by saying: It’s a quick and simple real-time way to temporarily let your friends know where you are, where you’re headed and when you’ll be there.

Prior to the latest client update, Glympse already simplified the hassle of telling friends or peers where you are on an as-needed basis. In less than 30 seconds, you can shoot a Glympse to friends you’re scheduled to meet or ping the office so your colleagues know when to expect you. Adding Facebook support with real-time maps simply makes sense — for many, Facebook is a de facto database of the very friends with whom they want to share their location.

Glympse’s updated client is now available for free in both Apple’s App Store and the Android Market.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Location-Based Services: From Mobiles to Mobility

One Response to “Glympse Adds Real-time Location Tracking to Facebook”

  1. This is an interesting post, Kevin, that highlights a growing trend we’re seeing across industries and mediums – location-based data. Social media applications are taking advantage of the information through programs like Glympse and FourSquare, and geospatial data will continue to be a hot topic over the next few years. This information also has interesting applications for companies, many of which have begun using data warehouses to draw insight from data that they already store. Almost every type of business has information like customer and store addresses; origin and destination points for trips, shipments or routes; or hazard zones where natural phenomena such as a storm, disease or fire occur. While the home address of each customer and the address of each store are just data, this information becomes actionable when it is added to information gleaned from a customer’s response to ad fliers. A marketing department might find that customer response is low for those who live more than five miles from a store.

    BI applications using geospatial functions from the Teradata Database can produce tremendous analytical results. For example, insurance companies do not want to expose themselves to too much risk in the same area. An operational application used during the underwriting process could evaluate the added risk when a new location is introduced into the current portfolio of insured properties. While the application may not actually map the properties, calculations based on the location data would indicate the concentration of properties in the area and, in turn, influence the scoring of an insurance application. Customer value and profile analytics the data warehouse can be combined with location data to enhance the policy pricing and decisions. This same location data could also be used to reveal the financial exposure of current insured properties that exist in the path of a forecast storm.

    I look forward to following this trend and seeing how businesses and applications will take advantage of geospatial technology!