Glympse — an app that lets users chart their location on a map and then share their location and those trips with others — has grown its business by trying to make itself as ubiquitous as possible, with apps not just on iOS and Android but Windows Phone and BlackBerry, as well as integrations with major car makers like Ford, Mercedes Benz and BMW/Mini, and a new API to bring in even more developers — a strategy that has now brought the company some 10 million active users. Today, it’s announcing the latest phase in that strategy to grow by launching its first applications in non-English languages: Chinese, German, Japanese and Spanish are getting turned on today, and French, Italian, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese will be added in the “near future.”
For now, Glympse’s extra language support is coming only to iOS and Android, a spokesperson tells me.
The new support will mean that speakers of those languages will now be able to share their locations and routes in other languages. For an app that already counts some 40% of its users outside of the U.S., the step is a crucial one as it continues to gain critical mass and tap further into the rising tide for mobile mapping services — a trend that has seen companies like Apple decide to strike out to develop stronger mapping services of its own; Google make $1 billion+ acquisitions; and Nokia dig further into ways that it can differentiate itself as it continues to struggle in its handset business.
The move to add extra languages was a long time coming for the app. Bryan Trussel, the co-founder and CEO, told me months ago (when we met in Spain, no less) that this was on the cards due to user requests. “Localized versions of Glympse are one of the most requested features by our fans outside the US. We’ve been working hard to implement and support those languages to better serve these users. We’re now enabling millions of users to engage with Glympse in their native dialect,” Trussel, co-founder and CEO of Glympse, noted in a statement today.
The language selection will by default be based on what a user sets as the prefernce on the device itself, although it can also be set in the app. In fact, a spokesperson tells me that the French, Italian, Korean and Portuguese are actually already in the app, but only in preview-mode. “Users can go into settings and select those languages to test — they currently being verified by native speakers to make sure they are completely accurate before they go live,” she says.
Glympse is backed by $7.5 million from Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners.
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