Most location-based mobile social applications have lost their way. This summer foursquare redesigned its service, de-emphasizing its signature location check-ins to focus on personalized recommendations and user interactions. Foursquare rivals like Gowalla, Loopt and Brightkite have checked out completely. Glympse is an exception to the trend, although it's always followed its own path. Instead of building a user experience dependent on check-ins, badges and broadcasting updates to the world at large, Glympse introduced streamlined, one-click capabilities enabling users to privately update friends, family and colleagues on their whereabouts and activities in real-time, for as long (or short) a period as they wish.
Three years after Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) veterans Bryan Trussel and Steve Miller first launched Glympse, downloads of the free app now top the 3.5 million mark. And while many of its competitors have pivoted or petered out, Glympse continues to move forward. In June, the Seattle-based startup inked an agreement with Mercedes-Benz to integrate real-time Glympse location sharing into the automaker's in-vehicle Digital DriveStyle application. Earlier this month, Glympse also unveiled revamped versions its apps for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, bolstered by new features like Glympse Groups (enabling users interacting in common activities like sporting events, meetings or social gatherings to map and track each others' locations for a specified window of time), Calendar Integration (allowing users to automatically schedule location updates for everyone associated with a specific event) and Requests (which lets users automatically broadcast their whereabouts to trusted contacts who ask for updates).
FierceDeveloper contributor Jason Ankeny spoke to Trussel, Glympse's CEO, about the app's longevity, its latest enhancements and the importance of keeping it simple.