Glympse vs. Google Latitude in location sharing battle

If you look over to the right side of my blog you’ll see a Google Latitude component.

What does that do? It shares my location with you.

Why is that cool? Because now you’ll be able to watch as I head to Adobe’s offices to meet with the Flash team there this morning. You’ll also be able to see when I leave for New York later today and, hopefully, you’ll be able to see when I arrive in New York later tonight.

So?

I’ve found this to be a useful tool for my business. People can see when I’ll arrive places. I’ve used it a lot of times to meet up with people who are near me. Often those meetings happen on the fly. I see someone’s icon near where I am and I email or Twitter or call them and see if they wanna get together for coffee. It’s amazing how often they say yes.

Imagine if you were a business and had a fleet of trucks. You could see where they were located using this technology.

One thing, though, Google Latitude is almost unusable for me. It crashes all the time on my phone. See, they made some bad assumptions up front. Here’s why: their user testing showed that people really aren’t ready to share their location in public the way I am. Privacy is a HUGE concern to them.

This feedback was so consistent that they assumed no one would ever try to share with the world, the way I do. So they designed it to be used only with very small groups of people. For instance with your close family. I hear from the team that they didn’t test it with more than 100 friends (I already have more than three times that many, which causes it to crash).

That brings me to Glympse, which is launching this morning at the Where 2.0 Conference. Glympse goes the other way to solve that privacy problem: they put a time limit on it. So, now, you can send your boss, or even the public, a glimpse into your life and let people track you.

There’s a few things that are better about that approach. First, you don’t need to have Glympse on your PC to watch me drive toward your house (to really use Google Latitude we both need Latitude running). Second, since you know the Glympse will end in, say, two hours, you don’t get paranoid about privacy issues.

I wish I could do this for the public. There are times when I don’t want to share where I am with all of you. Sorry. Glympse does that better.

On the other hand, Google Latitude lets me see where a larger group of my friends is hanging out, which leads to those impromptu coffees which are very cool.

I wish both service would meld, because I like pieces of both approaches. Anyway, last night I uploaded a video demo I did with Glympse’s CEO, Bryan Trussel. Cool demo of Glympse.

Downsides to both services? The don’t work with all phones. I can run Latitude on my Nokia phone, but not my iPhone. Glympse is same, but is coming to iPhone soon.

So far I think Glympse’s approach is going to be better for most people. What do you think?

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. I can't see this being a successful standalone service … seems more like a feature that could be implemented in existing LBS systems …

  2. I can't see this being a successful standalone service … seems more like a feature that could be implemented in existing LBS systems …

  3. Hi Robert,We're getting ready to release a new browser plug-in for Blackberry and Windows Mobile Smartphones. With it you will now be able to integrate GPS, Cell tower id etc directly into the browser. This information can then be shared (if you choose) with ANY web server. For Windows Mobile all you will need is a few lines of JavaScript in your web page and you can access any device side API. NO mobile programming is required to use the solution and it will come with support to transmit GPS location data to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Yellow Pages, and True Local (search engine out of Canada). Privacy is now integrated into browser via a new menu. Simply pick the data you wish to share. The web service simply reads the data off the headers and can now mash that out to ANY web service with an API. Cheers,Peterhttp://www.5o9inc.com

  4. Hi Robert,

    We're getting ready to release a new browser plug-in for Blackberry and Windows Mobile Smartphones. With it you will now be able to integrate GPS, Cell tower id etc directly into the browser. This information can then be shared (if you choose) with ANY web server. For Windows Mobile all you will need is a few lines of JavaScript in your web page and you can access any device side API. NO mobile programming is required to use the solution and it will come with support to transmit GPS location data to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Yellow Pages, and True Local (search engine out of Canada). Privacy is now integrated into browser via a new menu. Simply pick the data you wish to share. The web service simply reads the data off the headers and can now mash that out to ANY web service with an API.

    Cheers,

    Peter
    http://www.5o9inc.com

  5. Aren't you feeling that you expose your privacy too much to the WWW (wild wild world) with this Web application software. I mean…hm… Many people know you from this site, but I doubt you know every one of your readers. In addition, I don't think these Web applications are really useful to get your tasks done, except if you want to track your teenage daughter's or your wife's whereabout, that is.

  6. Aren't you feeling that you expose your privacy too much to the WWW (wild wild world) with this Web application software. I mean…hm… Many people know you from this site, but I doubt you know every one of your readers. In addition, I don't think these Web applications are really useful to get your tasks done, except if you want to track your teenage daughter's or your wife's whereabout, that is.

  7. I'd try to control it by area as well as people. For instance, I'd block public from knowing my location when I'm at home. But allow it to know the rest of my travels.

  8. I'd try to control it by area as well as people. For instance, I'd block public from knowing my location when I'm at home. But allow it to know the rest of my travels.

  9. I subscribe to your blog feed using Google Reader, which I read using the Google Chrome browser. For the last few weeks, when clicked on any of your stories to see them on your blog, all I see is a 404 error and when I go back to your home page, I see nothing in the blog since “The neat thing about blogging desing…” from April 29.I finally took the time to visit your site using Firefox and, lo and behold, I can see everything. You might want to have your site design guy look into why your blog is giving Google Chrome users the proverbial finger…

  10. I subscribe to your blog feed using Google Reader, which I read using the Google Chrome browser. For the last few weeks, when clicked on any of your stories to see them on your blog, all I see is a 404 error and when I go back to your home page, I see nothing in the blog since “The neat thing about blogging desing…” from April 29.

    I finally took the time to visit your site using Firefox and, lo and behold, I can see everything. You might want to have your site design guy look into why your blog is giving Google Chrome users the proverbial finger…

  11. I''m tempted to use it to keep tabs on my 14 year old. This really opens up a whole new world of parent involvement and trust. Anyone see a book here?

  12. I''m tempted to use it to keep tabs on my 14 year old. This really opens up a whole new world of parent involvement and trust. Anyone see a book here?

  13. Funny that you needed 300 friends to crash Latitude. I needed three on my BlackBerry Curve! I'm finding mobile apps drain batteries & crash phones.

  14. Funny that you needed 300 friends to crash Latitude. I needed three on my BlackBerry Curve! I'm finding mobile apps drain batteries & crash phones.

  15. Robert, Like you I love location based services… However up until today they are still to much of a real hassle to use. They aren't integrated with each other well enough… I register trips in Dopplr, Integrate this with FireEagle,but Google Latitude doesn't support this yet… Further.. checking in, like BrightKite is too much work and GPS doesn't work indoors.. It's getting better all the time, but we still have a long way to go…Feel free to read more at: http://www.aadjemonkeyrock.com/2009/03/location

  16. Robert,

    Like you I love location based services… However up until today they are still to much of a real hassle to use. They aren't integrated with each other well enough… I register trips in Dopplr, Integrate this with FireEagle,but Google Latitude doesn't support this yet… Further.. checking in, like BrightKite is too much work and GPS doesn't work indoors.. It's getting better all the time, but we still have a long way to go…

    Feel free to read more at: http://www.aadjemonkeyrock.com/2009/03/location

  17. Hello Robert,It's cool that you like sharing your position. I'm an iPhone user and I've been experimentating to share my location with the wizi app for iphone (currently on closed beta -I'm a beta tester and friend of the wizi founders-, and releasing soon in the following months for the iphone). I'd like to try Glympse for iphone once it's available though.Here's my location right now: http://twitter.com/guillaume7/status/1851343240 ;) If I move with the app turned on, the viewer can refresh my position, live. It's pretty cool! I'd love to have you take a try on wizi. Please say something if you're curious.Cheers,Guillaume Riflet

  18. Hello Robert,

    It's cool that you like sharing your position. I'm an iPhone user and I've been experimentating to share my location with the wizi app for iphone (currently on closed beta -I'm a beta tester and friend of the wizi founders-, and releasing soon in the following months for the iphone). I'd like to try Glympse for iphone once it's available though.

    Here's my location right now:
    http://twitter.com/guillaume7/status/1851343240
    ;)

    If I move with the app turned on, the viewer can refresh my position, live. It's pretty cool! I'd love to have you take a try on wizi. Please say something if you're curious.

    Cheers,

    Guillaume Riflet

  19. I was thinking the exact same thing when I was reading about Glympse yesterday. All Google needs to do is add a temporary share location feature and I think it could solve the problem.

  20. I was thinking the exact same thing when I was reading about Glympse yesterday. All Google needs to do is add a temporary share location feature and I think it could solve the problem.

  21. I'm interested in Location based services and would like to check out Glympse when it comes to the iPhone. The services have potential but I think it will be when Facebook enter the space that LBS will really generate interest!

  22. I'm interested in Location based services and would like to check out Glympse when it comes to the iPhone. The services have potential but I think it will be when Facebook enter the space that LBS will really generate interest!

  23. I always thought that people are scared of the “big brother” watching them, and then you come and say that it's cool… I understand why people would want to know everything about you, but why do you want to share this information with the world???

  24. I always thought that people are scared of the “big brother” watching them, and then you come and say that it's cool… I understand why people would want to know everything about you, but why do you want to share this information with the world???

  25. Video: An Introduction to Glympse (Mobile-Location Sharing)…

    This video is a great introduction to a brand new service called Glympse.  I just saw this on Robert Scoble’s blog, thought it was interesting and thought I would share it along with some comments of my own.
    Watch the video for details, but thi…

  26. That's cool because now I can see when you're out of your house so I can rob it. I mean, I obviously won't do it but I could. But I Guess that's just one downside. Contracted murders will be a lot less fun also I suppose.

  27. Ever since i heard about Glympse launching on may 19th, i have used and it was a great experience. I have used Twitter for a lot of time now. I think Glympse is also going to emerge as a good way of getting social traffic to your sites. I do think that Glympse is going to do better than Latitude. Using latitude, I have been able to let my friends know where i am during exams and interviews i take. Glympse is really a whole great new world!

  28. This is complete life virtualization. I think these tools may be very useful and more of the times are going to boost our personal productivity. But who will save us from a negligent or mass-damaging use of that technologies?

  29. Glympse is fantastic! Will it be part of Google's Wave? Can't wait for someone to send me a Glympse while they are enjoying that elusive new on-the-edge Craft Beer.

  30. “…That brings me to Glympse, which is launching this morning at the Where 2.0 Conference. Glympse goes the other way to solve that privacy problem: they put a time limit on it. So, now, you can send your boss, or even the public, a glimpse into your life and let people track you.

    There’s a few things that are better about that approach. First, you don’t need to have Glympse on your PC to watch me drive toward your house (to really use Google Latitude we both need Latitude running). Second, since you know the Glympse will end in, say, two hours, you don’t get paranoid about privacy issues.”

  31. I, until now, haven't used whether Google Latitude or Glympse service yet. But, your explanation about those services is really intrigue me to know more about it. In my opinion, this service, I think, will make the interaction between us, webmaster, and the reader more intense if I put it in my blog, All About Babies. Thanks for sharing Robert.

    PS: For me, reading this post gives slightly information about you.

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