Glympse Launches Its First API To Share Location Tracking In Any App Or Platform

Posted: May 14, 2013 in Apps, GT, Social

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Glympse has been in the news for its deals with the
likes of Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW/Mini to
integrate its location-sharing and tracking technology
into in-car systems on connected automobiles. Today
it’s taking its expansion strategy one step further,
with the release of a new software development kit, giving app developers and others the ability to include
Glympse-powered location-sharing technology into
their services with a few lines of code. The news comes during a time when social-mapping
technology is in the news, with Facebook reportedly
in the process of acquiring Waze for up to $1 billion,
and Alibaba investing nearly $300 million into
AutoNavi in a strategic alliance to develop location-
based commerce and other mobile navigation and mapping services. While Waze has developed a way to collate
crowdsourced mapping and traffic data, Glympse
doesn’t create the maps themselves — as you can
see in the example below, the map data can come
from Google, but also Microsoft’s Bing, Open
Streetmap and others — but its location-tracking technology effectively lets you create a real-time trail
showing your route to a particular location. The resulting maps are animated routes tracking your
movements and other data like the speed at which
you’re travelling, travel time, and expected arrival
time. A person can also make the data ephemeral
(like Snapchat!) by giving it an expiration date for how
long it can be accessed. These look something like this: Bryan Trussel, CEO and co-founder of Glympse,
says that already there are a number of companies
approaching Glympse for ways to integrate its
technology into new applications — areas that the
company itself just doesn’t have the resources to
tackle itself right now. One of these involves integration into apps around air travel: tracking where
a person is as his plane flies from point A to B, useful
for someone waiting to pick up that person from the
airport. You can see how technology like this can be
used in casual applications, for example in games,
but also in more practical scenarios such as logistics tracking. Trussel says that the SDK will effectively be a
version of the private APIs that Glympse already
provides to partners like the car companies and
others like Garmin. It comes at a time when Glympse will continue to
expand that partner list, and expand out to other
verticals. “We’ve done a major partnership every six months,
and we plan more, at the rate of one every couple of
months,” he said in an interview. “Some car partners
but the majority will be outside the automotive space.”
This could also extend to licensing deals for the
Glympse technology to start appearing on mobile devices as well. And in fact, there are already a
number of companies in non-automotive using
Glympse’s technology already. They include Gripwire
(app development), PetHub (pet protection) and
Runtriz (for hospitality solutions). Glympse will be offering use of the API free of charge
to implementations of 300,000 users or less, in the
form of a Lite SDK. That free SDK will include the
ability to add Glympse functionality to a mobile app
as well as a Map Tool, for developers to create and
host a custom Glympse Map. The SDK will let users add GPS and location management, contact
integration and viewer permissions as well as the
coding for a user interface for users to share location
from within the third-party app. Glympse says that a further, paid commercial SDK is
designed for developers and enterprises that expect
more than 300,000 monthly active users, or need
more support, flexibility with user experience flow, or
the ability to create more custom features. So why the delay of offering an API only now?
Trussel says that Glympse has had a lot of incoming
requests to use the platform from the beginning, but
“we decided not to lead with the platform because we
wanted to have it stable and documented. Having an
SDK means dealing with support and questions, and we spent our resources working with customers
directly and refining platform. Now we are at the point
where our partners are using the platform in identical
ways so we can handle a variation of people using in
a lot of different ways. The timing will be right for us.” Glympse has to date raised $7.5 million from
investors that include Menlo Ventures and Ignition
Partners.

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