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My current app obsession: Cloak

Sections: Communications, Mobile, Smartphones

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We’ve all been there: you’re in a bar (just kidding, mom), a coffee shop, or just walking down the street and suddenly you see someone you don’t want to run into. Maybe it’s your ex, your psychotic old roommate, your annoying colleague…the list goes on and on.

But what if you were preemptively warned that these people were coming towards you? Then, you could simply enjoy your night, instead of fumbling around with awkward conversation while simultaneously coming up with an obvious exit strategy. Everyone knows you don’t have to leave for a dentist appointment at 9 pm! And we all know you don’t have a dog to walk, either.

While it’s always been easy to avoid those “undesirables” on social media, the same has never been true of real life. When you break up with someone, all you have to do is unfollow them on Twitter and block them on Facebook. Piece of cake. But when you both frequent the same places, you can’t just change your life around to avoid them. Well, you can but that’s no fun either. The awesome new app, Cloak, aims to make your real life avoidances an easy thing to maintain.

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The “antisocial network” uses its users’ Foursquare and Instagram geolocation data to help its users avoid those people they would rather not see in person. The app calls itself an “incognito mode for real life”.

Created by programmer Brian Moore and former Buzzfeed creative director Chris Baker, the app certainly has its real life applications. In Cloak, users see photos of friends on a map based on the user’s location. Those that are considered “problems” are flagged, meaning alerts will be sent to the user’s phone when they’re coming close.

But what dictates “nearby”? Well, you set those standards. Whether it’s a mile away that’s too close for comfort, or a wider circumference – it’s up to you.

But, if you’re like me, you already see that this app won’t be helpful in every circumstance. Those people you are trying to avoid must be pretty active social media users. For example, my ex doesn’t even have a Foursquare or an Instagram account. So, instead, I rely on the old-fashioned 20/20 vision of my friends to make sure I’m always in the clear.

However, the company hopes to add geolocation data from Facebook and Google+ in the future, so fear not.

In regards to why the creators decided to embark on their “anti-social network,” Baker told the Washington Post:

“Personally, I think we’ve seen the crest of the big social network. Things like Twitter and Facebook are packed elevators where we’re all crammed in together…I think anti-social stuff is on the rise. You’ll be seeing more and more of these types of projects.”

The app is currently only available on the Apple App Store, but don’t count out other versions in the future:

“Right now we’re just focusing on iOS. If the app proves to be a hit with users, of course we’ll expand the idea…Plus we’ve got some fun features we’d like to roll out beyond what’s included in our launch,” the company told Time.com.

So, to my crazy ex-roommate, I say, “see you never!”

[Source: CBS]

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