Review: Glympse and Twist apps

[NOTE: The Twist app shut down as of April 1, 2014. See my post on this surprising news for more information.]

Trying to coordinate several people meeting at one place is never easy. We all can recall waiting what seemed like forever for someone to pick you up or being the only one at the restaurant waiting for everyone else to show up. Sometimes, you just want to know that a person you care about made it home safe.

Luckily, smart phone apps are providing solutions to these problems. The first one Tom and I tried was Glympse. With this app, you select a contact or multiple contacts, set a duration, add a message if you want and then hit send. Your contact then receives a text or email message to follow your progress towards your destination. You can see whether your contact is watching your Glympse or not too. On the plus side, Glympse is available for Android, iOS, WinPhone 7/8 and Blackberry. On the minus side, because Glympse is constantly checking your location via the phone’s GPS, it can be a major drain on your battery life and your contact has to keep looking at the Glympse to see where you are.

Glympse

Recently, we switched to another app called Twist – On My Way. This app takes a different approach to the problem. When you make a new Twist, you select your location by searching for the name or entering the address. After confirming the destination, you select the recipient(s) from your contact or by entering a phone number, email address or name. If you meeting that person at the destination, you can request their ETA too. Twist gives you the estimated time to get there and you can chose by car, by public transportation, by foot or by bike. You can schedule Twists for later if you like. Even the Twists that you create to be sent right now won’t send until the app picks up that you are actually leaving. So, if you get caught in the hallway on the way out, your recipient won’t get inaccurate information.

Once you actually begin towards your destination, Twist sends a notification to the other party with your estimated time or arrival. If the other person doesn’t have the Twist app installed, a text message is sent instead. Another notification or text is sent when you are one minute away from your destination. If you are delayed while you are traveling, Twist will also notify your recipient and give an updated arrival time. If you have the app installed, you can open it to see where the person who sent you the Twist is, but you don’t have to if the notifications are enough for you.

Your Home and Work addresses are saved as Shortcuts and shown when you first enter the app. Under those, your Calendar and Recent Places are listed for easy access. Twist is available for Android and iOS.

Twist

While both Glympse and Twist are great apps for letting people know when you are going to get somewhere, Twist is our favorite and earned a spot on the main screens of our phones. Can’t recommend it enough.

— Carla

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