[Updated below with comments from Glympse and Microsoft]

A new Windows Phone app released by Microsoft Bing this week — dubbed “We’re In” — aims to help groups of people connect with each other and meet up on the fly for activities such as carpools, gatherings, lunch, dinner, drinks or pretty much anything else.

But not for riots! You hear that, you crazy kids?

OK, setting aside the mildly awkward timing, it’s an interesting app that points to the potential of location-based services on mobile devices. An organizer uses the app to send a text message to other members of the group, providing details and a meetup spot, and also setting a timeframe for how long the members of the group will share their locations with one another on a map.

More potential awkwardness: That last part is very similar to Glympse, the location-based service from a Redmond-based startup founded by two former Microsoft employees.

Glympse, which has its own Windows Phone app (in addition to apps for the other major mobile platforms) recently raised $7.5 million in new funding and announced it had surpassed 1 million users.

Glympse says it has a patent pending on its time-based “GlympseWatch” technology. I’ve sent messages to representatives of both companies to find out if they’re working together on this. There’s no evidence I can find in Microsoft’s blog post or in the app itself that suggests they are.

Bing’s free “We’re In” app is available here for Windows Phone. Other members of the group can join in using the app or a mobile website, if they don’t have a Windows Phone. Once they do, their locations appear on an online map, visible to other members of the group, for the specified period of time.

Microsoft says it’s working on versions for other devices, as well.

Update, 12:15 p.m.: Here’s the statement from Microsoft. “We are not currently working with Glympse. We’re In uses propriety technology that is similar to Microsoft MapPoint Location Server technology developed several years ago.”

Via email, Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel tells GeekWire that Glympse has worked with Microsoft on other projects, but not on this one.

Trussel continues, “Glympse innovated and pioneered the private, time-based ‘share your where’ concept two years ago, and our more than million rabid users are proof that the market is adopting our approach. MSFT’s app, like Google before them, is further validation of where Glympse is headed.”

More screenshots from the Microsoft app …

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  • Guest

    Congratulations to Microsoft! This is a Google Latitude killer, not a Glympse killer. No more will I need to broadcast my location to Mountain View’s third-most-evil company just to coordinate a social party with my contacts.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Funny. There are similarities between “We’re In” and Google Latitude (even the icons) but the notion of a timer on the location sharing is what’s similar to the core feature of Glympse.

    • Guest

      Wait!  Google Latitude app for Windows Phone 7? 

  • http://twitter.com/sib1013 Scott Blanksteen

    I recently installed “We’re In” and it looks like a great app. At some level, it is functionally competitive with Glympse, but I think it won’t be as much so in usage as it is in capability. As an analogy, it feels like texting vs GroupMe vs Twitter. All of them model the underlying 140/160 character SMS message as a transport layer, but the intended and evolved uses are quite different and the products have evolved to fit and extend those new uses. From a pure execution point of view, Glympse’s survival depends on making their app a success – it’s hard to bet against that level of motivation.

  • Morgan Belford

    Snikkr (another Seattle company started in 2008 by ex-Microsoft people) has a BlackBerry, iPhone and Web app (also called Snikkr) which was actually the first app to include time-limited (and multi-user) location sharing, not Glympse. Snikkr also lets you manage and share favorite places, get directions, and lookup nearby businesses.

    Snikkr also automatically maps your upcoming meetings, and lets you send your location and ETA to meeting participants.

    You might want to compare and contrast at http://www.snikkr.com.

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