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.