There are plenty of apps which know and track your location, but few allow you to selectively share this sensitive, personal data with only the people you want, for the amount of time you want. The only rival which springs to mind is Apple’s Find My Friends, but this assumes your friends also have an iPhone, which is going to be a problem for a lot of people.
Glympse isn’t quite the same as Find My Friends, though. It’s designed to let others track your whereabouts and while you could use it to help someone find you, it can equally be used to let someone track your progress as you travel to them.
The app is available on more devices than you might expect, even Windows Phone 7, and doesn’t even require the viewer to have a smartphone or tablet. The way it works is that you fire up the app when you’re ready to share your position, choose to whom to send the ‘Glympse’ and how long you want your location to be shared. Optionally, you can set a destination, send a personalised message or choose a preset phrase from the list, such as ‘Stuck in traffic’ or ‘Heading home now’.
They receive – via SMS or email – your message and a link to track your progress on Glympse’s website. In our experience there’s a slight delay compared to your actual position, and is reliant on a mobile data signal to send updates so won’t work everywhere, but it’s accurate enough for most purposes.
The app also allows you to request a Glympse from someone else, or create a group where multiple people can track each other’s locations (just like Find My Friends). When you tap the details button below your name in the app, you get a big expire now button to stop sharing your location early.
In the options section you can choose whether or not to broadcast your speed (off by default) and prevent your device turning off while viewing the map. Glympse isn’t a satnav, but you can run a satnav app at the same time – at least we could on an iPhone running iOS 7.
Glympse is a well-thought-out app and is nicely designed, too. Given that it’s free, installing it is a no-brainer.