Yet another technology is about to launch that will make it harder to lie to your boss and significant others about your whereabouts. It’s an iPhone app called Twist.
That’s right, kids. The new free app gives users the goods on your ETA, including location and how far away you are. Of course, you can use it to follow your connections, too.
San Francisco’s Twist comes on the heels of Seattle startup Glympse, which already allows mobile users to send private notifications to friends, family members or co-workers so that they can track each other’s movements. (Think about a family split up at Disney World.) So, how exactly will Twist differ?
“Twist solves a different problem than Glympse,” co-founders Bill Lee, CEO, and Mike Belshe, CTO, said in a response to our query. “While Glympse focuses on ‘where’ and uses the tagline ‘share your where,’ Twist focuses on ‘when.’ Twist is about time and estimated times of arrival (ETA).”
Lee and Belshe said that Twist starts and stops automatically, “auto-detecting” your movements without your interaction; updates recipients of your movements; accounts for type of travel, calculating the best routes, factoring in stuff like traffic; and provides a dashboard of your network’s movements, even storing that info for future reference, among other features.
Twist also announced that it’s secured Series A funding of $6 million from Bridgescale Partners and investors Eric Hahn (Inventures Group and former CTO of Netscape) and Jeff Skoll (first employee and first President of eBay). Co-founders Lee and Belshe also participated, following the $7.5 million that Glympse raised from Menlo Ventures and Ignition Partners last summer.
While we’re not so thrilled about some of the benefits to these types of apps that CEOs like to point out — like tracking employees motions to meetings (“Dammit, Gene has veered off to the coffee bar again…”) — there is one incredibly useful component to this: keeping drivers from texting while they are driving.
According to a survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Twist, almost a quarter of Americans “admit to having sent a text or email while driving to let someone know they were on their way.” Stop doing this.
All this movement tracking is either A) a dream if you’re a Type-A control freak (managers) or B) Your Worst Nightmare (creatives). But one thing is certain: That annoying friend who is never, ever on time? At least you can go ahead and sit down and order while you wait, like a civilized human being.
Here’s a video on how Twist works below: