Here’s A Glympse Into The Future, Circa 2016

July 6th, 2016

I sit nervously at the corner table waiting for her to arrive.  It is 6:15pm on a rainy Tuesday evening in Seattle, WA

“Oh man, what if she bails on me?”  What would I tell the guys?”

I am nervous because this is an extremely exciting night -  it’s my first date with Sarah, a beautiful young woman I met a few weeks ago.

This is my big chance.

If she is late, what does that mean?”  My mind is racing.  “Should I text her to find out where she is?  Or would that just be annoying”

So many thoughts are running through my head it’s about ready to burst.  Then I remember hearing traffic is horrible so I figure it might be a while before she gets here.

“… but wait, I don’t think she’s driving on any major freeways… Nick, pull it together.  You have more nervous energy than Secretariat did at the gate before winning the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown in 1973.”

Buzz.  Up pops a message on my phone.  “Sarah says: On my way. I may be late, traffic…  Click for a Glympse of my location”.   Relieved, I now see she is indeed on the 520 bridge crossing Lake Washington, currently traveling at 10 mph and her estimated time of arrival is 6:35pm.  I am then able to watch her as she approaches the restaurant.  She actually arrives around 6:30pm and as a matter of fact we have a great dinner.

 “The ‘hey, where are you?’ question happens quite often each day.  And that’s where we saw the real opportunity.  If we can make it easier to share location, more rich, more dynamic, make it simple without privacy concerns… almost a reflex in peoples lives, that’s where we want to be.” -  Bryan Trussel, Glympse CEO. (Full interview here)

Earlier that afternoon I decided to go hiking up at Snow Lake, a cherished Seattle day hike in the North Cascades.  This is a nice 3 mile jaunt up and over a large crest and then down into the most extraordinary scenery you could find within one hour of a metropolitan city.  Turquoise blue water, evergreen trees, snowy patches on the high cresting rocks and blue skies all around make this one of my favorite getaways.

I have been up there many times before but today an eerie feeling fell over me as I was hiking around.  Luckily I turned Glympse on before I left my car and sent it out to a few hikers around the area as a safety precaution so I didn’t get lost, or worse.  As fate would have it, the former got the best of me and I found myself lost in the wilderness.  Frantically, I looked around – all 360 degrees seemed unfamiliar – and I started to wonder if this was really the end.

“Great, now what am I going to do?” 

I quickly sent out an SOS from my Glympse application, which goes out to all who are currently tracking my whereabouts.  Like a smoke signal of an earlier era the SOS message is a high level alert that I am currently in trouble.  With a view of my Glympse, a pair of hikers located me, gave me some water and together we walked down the mountain to our cars.  Saved by Glympse.

“The ‘i’m late for the meeting, here’s my location’ case might be the entry point, but then people will start using Glympse more and more deeply in their life.”  -  Bryan Trussel, Glympse CEO. (Full interview here)

You think that’s crazy?  Here is an even wilder situation that happened earlier in the morning.  I was walking to a meeting downtown when I decided to take a Glympse of the city of Seattle at 8:05 am.  I pulled out my iPhone 10 and with one finger swipe I was able to see thousands of little dots moving about the city.  Those dots were actual people, moving in real-time all around me.  Double tapping the map zoomed me in on one city block, illumining people choosing to reveal their exact location and identity to me and other Glympse users.

I juxtaposed all the people on the highlighted block with my networks and found out three close colleagues and one old high school friend were within 300 yards from me.

Dude, this is cool.

Viewing this block using Glympse helped me more effectively navigate my next 10 minutes.  I shook hands with one colleague, booked a much needed follow-up meeting with another and surprised an old friend with a friendly “long time, no see”.  Ah yes, technology.  What a day.

“In terms of privacy, we do several things, A) you never share your location until you say go, B) you set the timeline so it stops when you want it to, automatically, C) we put ‘stop broadcasting’ very prominently in the UI, and you can delete any Glympse at any time, it disappears from your phone as well as off our servers.” -  Bryan Trussel, Glympse CEO.  (Full interview here)

Present Day

For the record, the above scenario will indeed be normal behavior by the year 2016.  Just you watch.

Much has been documented about the location tracking mobile application Glympse.  It allows you to purposely share your location and lets people see and track your whereabouts at any moment.  And it’s as simple as sending a text (Robert Scoble does a great overview here).

“Uh, why would I do that?” is the normal response from anyone I talk to about Glympse.  They also said that about putting their credit cards on the internet 15 years ago and I think we all know how that turned out.

I think people will ease into it, just like e-commerce.  Remember back in 1996, no one wanted to place their credit card online. over time eBay, Amazon and others developed a positive reputation for security.  And people warmed up to putting their card online.  We want to be this brand, “this is a Glympse enabled app” so people will trust it. -  Bryan Trussel, Glympse CEO. (Full interview here)

To be honest, I too was initially skeptical but after a rather interesting conversation recently with Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel I am now convinced otherwise.  Once you get past the “I would never share my location” gut reaction, you start to grasp the idea and realize this is the future showing itself to you.  The image to the right is a Glympse Bryan sent as he traveled to our meeting.  I have to say it was pretty amazing watching him get closer and closer to me and then see him walk in the door right on time.

By no exception Bryan is a visionary:

Take from the beginning of time, from the caveman going out and slaughtering the mammoth (family members wondering where they are), from the ship going out on the horizon and people on the shore wondering “where’s the ship”  to the pony express riding the horse, to the telegraph, to now a telephone, now everything is real-time… so if you fast forward accounting for advances in technology… you see a pattern of something people have done since the beginning of time – wondering about someone’s location and whereabouts.  And we will have this need 50 years in the future, If you can take that and make it easier, more rich and simple… we think it’s a good place to be. -  Bryan Trussel, Glympse CEO. (Full interview here)

Available on many different mobile devices, eclipsing one million users and recently closing a $7.5 million Series B round of financing, The Redmond based Glympse seems to have positioned itself at the forefront of the next major trend in mobile space – location sharing applications.

What makes Glympse so intriguing is the practical/utility application as opposed to a game mechanic approach.  It’s tough to argue which is better, but the power of Glympse is quite obvious.  Those three uses I described in the year 2016 help illustrate why the need to locate is a human desire and why sharing our location with people will be a second nature behavior.  It’s not scary, it’s useful.  I believe we could be doing those things now, we just need more people using Glympse.   So go and get it.  It might just save your life.

Do we really have to wait 5 years for such a great day?

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