• Google
  • Nokia
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • AND Automotive Navigation Data
  • earthmine
  • First American Spatial Solutions
  • Waze
  • Google

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Glympse: Socializing LBS

The next generation personal location-based service products should be much more like sharing a phone call and a lot less like forming a baseball team. Sharing location is impulsive, like text messaging and it needs to be instant, simple and clean.

A social network 10 years ago would most likely have been a group of folks who lived by each other, or shared a common interest in Bridge, or politics, or botany, or walking in the park, or books. The exact time that an introduction became an acquaintance, a friend or even a close friend would never quite be defined. It just happened without having to state it formally. These relationships and the resulting level of intimacy would be amorphous, ebbing and flowing in a natural, organic, shapeless manner.
The shame is, in our digital media age, a lot of binary computer logic now determine how our relationships are established and if they grow or stall. Today’s social networks – while viral, powerful, fast, smart – came with a price, forcing us to become digital, or binary, in our relationships. You are in, or you are out. You can either see my photos, my friends, my posts, my diary, or you can see nothing. And we users are supposed to place people in our lives permanently into some abstract definition of ‘sharing comfort level.’

This has serious implications when the focus moves to location sharing. Personal location is one of the most personal pieces of information we own. Ask yourself, “Who do you want to know where you are?” I’ll bet you can’t answer it because the answer is almost always, “It depends.” I definitely don’t want anyone to always know where I am. I often want no one to know where I am. By the same token, in some circumstances, I’m fine with everyone knowing where I am (like speaking at Where 2.0.) Location sharing is a temporal thing that spans our relationships and digital social network boundaries. At times it’s personal, to the extreme. Yet, ironically, in the right circumstance, it can be the most public of information to share with the most remote of strangers.

Let’s face it: location plays a constant, dynamic, role with friends, family, and strangers in our analog lives. As we make this transformative leap into mass market digitized location, we need to provide solutions that easily blend with our analog social lives. Then, and only then, will the full potential of mass acceptance and value of digitized location sharing truly be realized.

When creating Glympse, we took a consumer-centric approach, focusing on the true needs, true scenarios and perceived concerns of the masses so that we could move location sharing to a broader and more impulsive, mass market status. Sharing your location shouldn’t require a new social network, limited by permanent digital restraints. To realize the potential power and ubiquity of personal location sharing, we need to allow users to be impromptu and manage connections dynamically—without the structure, permanence and hassles of social network-based restraints. We believe Glympse addresses this need and look forward to sharing more about our service

Bryan Trussel

Glympse Inc.

Bryan Trussel is co-founder and CEO of Glympse, a new company focused on
making location sharing commonplace. A 16-year Microsoft veteran, Bryan has
lead focused on delivering solutions for Windows, Interactive TV, Embedded
Systems, Windows CE, MSN and Messenger Games, and Xbox Live Arcade. He has a
BS in Computer Science and an MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern. The
privately held company, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, was founded in
2008 by ex-Microsoft veterans Bryan Trussel, Steve Miller and Jeremy Mercer.
Currently in a private beta, Glympse is expected to publicly debut its new
location-based service in Spring 2009.