Glow app branches out beyond conception

January 23, 2014: 12:00 PM ET

A new software update hints at Max Levchin and Mike Huang's grander ambitions.

A new feature in Glow v.3.0 called

A new feature in Glow v.3.0 called "Glow Genius" is a data-heavy all-in-one visual dashboard. Photo: Glow.

FORTUNE -- Glow, the fertility tracking app from PayPal founder Max Levchin and ex-Googler Mike Huang, isn't just about getting you pregnant anymore.

The third major software update, available Thursday, expands the app's scope beyond conception and caters to general women's health. Users will now be presented with three options: "trying to conceive," "considering pregnancy," and -- here's the biggest change -- "not trying to conceive." Choose the last option, and users will be shuttled to a section of the app focusing on tracking the user's period and customized health tips based on data entered on a daily basis. If the user's period is infrequent or prolonged over a long enough time span, for instance, the app might offer "New Insights" suggesting the user see their doctor and could be suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a disorder considered one of the leading causes of infertility. Another insight might reference how Vitamin B6, found in fish like salmon, can help relieve exhaustion, mood swings, and bloating.

Glow CEO and co-founder Mike Huang emphasizes that Glow isn't intended as a definitive diagnostic tool but can offer helpful recommendations based on information the user enters into their virtual daily log, ranging from the user's period frequent to eating habits. "We're not doctors," emphasizes Huang. With this section, the goal is better educate users in ways to maintain good health, whether they want to eventually conceive or not.

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Also new to the app across all three options is a feature called "Glow Genius," a data-heavy dashboard that presents user data alongside tips and reminders, including say, a prompt to take one's temperature, a graph showing how active the user was that day, "New Insights," and other notifications. Think of it as an-all-in-one dashboard.

Version 3.0 of the Glow app is a significant, although intermediate, step forward for the startup. In a future update, Huang suggests the app could go much further. Ovulating? Not only will Glow notify you of that, it could also one day offer up ways to set the mood for the perfect romantic evening, including a movie date with Fandango integration, so you can find the nearest theaters and purchases movie tickets all from within the app.

If and when that happens, Glow can add another title to its growing reputation as a digital fertility coach: the virtual "love doctor."

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JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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