Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
Glympse has long since cemented its position as one of the most popular real-time location-sharing apps for mobile.
If you’re new to it, it works like this: you decide which of your contacts can see where you are, so they can track your movements from A to B, and you can set a time-limit for how long the link you’ve shared is active. That’s it in a nutshell, at least.
Today, however, Glympse has launched a brand new standalone app for Android users. Glympse Keyboard is fairly revealing from its name – it’s a keyboard that works in conjunction with Glympse, letting users share their location from whatever application they’re currently using.
How it works
You can use Glympse Keyboard in two ways. Once you’ve installed and enabled the app, you’ll see a couple of keyboard input options – the first one is ‘Quick Send’, which lets you continue to use your existing keyboard (e.g. SwiftKey), while also using a quick-access location-sharing function.
By selecting ‘Quick Send’, a user can set the duration for the Glympse as usual (e.g. ’15 minutes’), include a short message, the destination, and then share.
The location link is then pasted into the app you’re using (e.g. WhatsApp, Gmail), and your normal keyboard returns. However, if you choose ‘Full Keyboard’, Glympse replaces your keyboard completely, and substitutes the ‘G’ key for the familiar Glympse icon. When held down, this creates a link to a map that can be inserted into any app.
If you’re familiar with Glympse, you’ll know that the recipient of the link doesn’t need the Glympse app installed to view your route, as it’s compatible with any mobile browser. Though if they do have it installed they can choose to track your journey through the app too.
Third-party Android keyboard apps are already plentiful on Google Play, with the likes of SwiftKey, Swype, TouchPal and Fleksy vying for your fingers’ attention. Glympse is throwing an interesting dedicated feature into the mix, though it remains to be seen whether this is tempting enough for users to ditch their current keyboard of choice.
My hunch is that the full Glympse Keyboard app is pretty basic and offers very little lure beyond the location button, so if you’re already addicted to SwiftKey’s Flow feature, for example, which lets you type by gliding your finger across the letters, this won’t be for you.
However, the Quick Send feature could prove useful, even if it does mean having to continuously switch from your main keyboard temporarily to use it.
Glympse Keyboard is available to download from Google Play now. And remember, you will need to have the main Glympse app installed too.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.