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Friday, May 22, 2009

A 'Glympse' of your kid's whereabouts

Glympse is a new geolocation tool that's very different from the "social mapping" services I've seen so far. You download it to a cellphone the way you do Loopt and Google's Latitude, but the key difference is the tracking times out. You track the phone only for a session set by the phone's owner. That's why it's called "Glympse." I like this concept because it requires parent-child communication. Here's what I mean: A kid's going to a game in the next town. The parent wants to be sure she gets there ok. The parent asks the child to send him a Glympse, and he can track her for the time they've decided it should take her to get there. He can track her progress on a Web page, courtesy of Google Maps, and even tell how fast she's driving. Once the session's over - say 45 minutes later - she's no longer being tracked. Dad can always call her up again in a few hours and request a Glympse that tracks her home. I'm not saying parents should use this service, and certainly not constantly, but I like that it 1) affords a young person some measure of privacy if her safety's somehow of concern (maybe it's used as a repercussion rather than all the time!) and 2) promotes conversation (rather than mere control, I hope). As TechCrunch blogger Jason Kincaid puts it, it's tracking without the social network (TechCrunch has photo). Here's an audio interview my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid did with Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel at CNET. [Glympse, loopt, and Google are supporters of, which I co-direct.]

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