GlympseGlympse, a mobile technology service that lets people share their locations with certain people, will be coming to BMW and MINI, Ken Yeung reports for The Next Web. The service is already available as part of Ford’s SYNC AppLink, and Glympse has an integration deal with Mercedes as well, Nick Wingfield writes for The New York Times blog Bits.

As Yeung writes:

Glympse’s raison d’être is sharing your location with specific people for a specific timeframe. So, if you’re lost or if you want people to know how long it will take you to get to a meeting, you can send them a link to a map which shows where you are, updating in real-time. That’s a clear boon for car drivers trying to find their way to somewhere unusual or stuck in a traffic jam, but fiddling with your smartphone to activate the app and share your location isn’t a good idea while driving.

Ford’s SYNC AppLink, available in more than 1 million vehicles, makes it possible for a driver to connect a smartphone to the on-board computer via USB or Bluetooth, and then control Glympse with SYNC’s voice command system, writes Martin Bryant in another The Next Web article.

Wingfield writes that Glympse is one of “a wave” of smartphone apps moving from smartphones to dashboard displays. But, in an article entitled “As Apps Race to Car Dashes, Walking a Line on Safety,” Wingfield notes, “Automakers are proceeding carefully with in-car apps because of the safety concerns around distracted driving.”

He goes on to say that automakers can decide whether and how smartphone apps integrate with dashboard displays, despite not being able to do much to stop drivers from looking at their smartphone screens while in moving vehicles. Car makers argue that dashboard displays are safer to look at while driving than smartphone screens because they are closer to the driver’s view of the road, Wingfield writes.

Philip Johnston, product manager for the BMW Group application integration platform, told Wingfield, “We try and curate the experience so it’s not distracting.” BMW worked closely with Glympse to edit out features that could result in distracting driving, like ones relying on text entry, to make it safer to use while driving, Wingfield writes.

In a comment to the Bits piece, Susan Levine of Chale Hill, NC, writes:

These companies should remember what happened to the tobacco industry. I plan to sue if I am in a accident. This will be a huge class action suit as there are so many families who have lost a loved one to accidents resulting from using these phones while driving. Lawyers start your engines.

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