Glympse — an app that lets users chart their location on a map and then their journeys from point A to B with others — is today announcing the latest phase in its expansion strategy: its first services in non-English languages. Chinese, German, Japanese and Spanish are getting turned on today, and French, Italian, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese will be added in the “near future.”
The company, which today is also announcing that it’s reached 10 million active users, has taken a strategy of growing by making itself as ubiquitous as possible. It has apps not just on iOS and Android but Windows Phone and BlackBerry; integrations with major car makers like Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW/Mini; and a new API to bring in even more developers.
But for now, Glympse’s extra language support is coming only to iOS and Android, a spokesperson tells me.
The new support will mean that non-English speakers will now be able to share their locations and routes in supported languages. For an app that already counts some 40% of its users outside of the U.S., the step is a crucial one as it continues to gain critical mass and tap further into the rising tide for mobile mapping services. That’s a trend that has seen companies like Apple develop stronger mapping services of its own; Google make $1 billion+ acquisitions; and Nokia dig further into ways that it can differentiate itself as it continues to struggle in its handset business.
Glympse’s move to add extra languages was a long time coming for the app. Bryan Trussel, the co-founder and CEO, told me months ago (when we met in Spain, no less) that this was on the cards due to user requests. “Localized versions of Glympse are one of the most requested features by our fans outside the US. We’ve been working hard to implement and support those languages to better serve these users. We’re now enabling millions of users to engage with Glympse in their native dialect,” Trussel, co-founder and CEO of Glympse, noted in a statement today.
The language selection will by default be based on what a user sets as the prefernce on the device itself, although it can also be set in the app. In fact, a spokesperson tells me that the French, Italian, Korean and Portuguese are actually already in the app, but only in preview-mode. “Users can go into settings and select those languages to test — they currently being verified by native speakers to make sure they are completely accurate before they go live,” she says.
There have been a number of different mapping services that have hit the market — including those that provide simple maps, to those that offer navigation services, and those that provide extra features such as social location or directory services for what is near to you. Glympse, in a way, is a complement to all of these: Glympsers can use the app to share where they are, and where they are going, with other people, by way of links that can be posted to social networks or sent via messages. The resulting link looks something like this:
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While the application of this technology has fun aspects, it can also have very practical purposes, such as in work environments when you are running late to an appointment, or for tracking how your young-adult children are getting home from school. Trussel noted to me that it’s even likely that we’ll see an integration soon where people can use it to help chart where a plane is flying so that you can get to the airport at the right time to meet it, if you’re collecting a passenger, or just interested in where they are.
What’s also interesting is that while apps like Snapchat have popularized the idea of ephemeral messaging, with the piece of content having an expiration point, Glympse also provides a similar feature, with messages only remaining active for a set period of time. (In recent months, the company has started to create ways for users to archive Glympses indefinitely, through a recent Evernote integration.)
Glympse is backed by $7.5 million from Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners.