We review Glympse, a location-aware Android application that only divulges your location to the people you want
It’s said that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. This is certainly true when it comes to social networking, and the recent proliferation of ‘location-aware’ applications which broadcast to all and sundry your current whereabouts.
While the benefits of apps like Gowalla and Foursquare are numerous, there are some painful drawbacks. Like that time when you rang in sick at work in order to attend a musical concert, only to discover that your location was readily available for your boss to see. Or when you went away on a week’s holiday in Europe, while your trusty phone made your home an easy target for every aspiring burglar in the area. Clearly, there are serious negatives to constantly telling people your location.
Glympse is another location-aware app, but it’s been created especially for people who are uneasy about sharing their exact position 24 hours a day. It still uses GPS to pinpoint where you are and tracks your movements accurately, but the big difference is that you have to initiate the broadcast yourself, and furthermore you can be selective about who gets to know about it.
You can send out a ‘Glympse’ to a phone number, email address or specially-created network, which can contain several recipients (friends, family, co-workers, that kind of thing). You’re also able to set a time limit on the availability of your location. You can set it to zero, which effectively means you’re ‘checking in’ at a place, rather like FourSquare, for a maximum of four hours. Your location is updated in real time during this entire time span.
The benefits of this system are obvious; not only are you being ultra-selective with whom you share your location, you’ve got a fail-safe time limitation in place as well. This means that Glympse isn’t constantly broadcasting your position throughout the day without your knowledge, and allows you to be entirely in control over who sees where you are.
For example, say you’re in town and want to arrange an impromptu get-together with some friends you know who work in the city. You can send them a ‘Glympse’ with a time limit of an hour, or however long you think you’ll be in the area. Once that limit expires and you leave the town, they won’t be able to track your position, which ensures your privacy is intact.
Glympse’s functionality would be enough to ensure a recommendation, but the fact that it’s wrapped up in an especially attractive interface only bolsters its position in our eyes. It’s also very straightforward to use, and connects seamlessly with your phone’s address and email history to retrieve prospective recipients.
If you’ve previously been too worried about security to dabble in the rapidly-expanding location-aware networking scene, then Glympse is the ideal way to dip your toe into the water.