Want to Avoid People? There's An App for That.
Call it the “anti-social network.”
In the day of oversharing online, an app called Cloak has come along to help you avoid specific people. But really, you can also use the app to keep tabs your employees and your competitors.
Created by Chris Baker and Brian Moore, both advertising professionals, Cloak pulls data from Foursquare and Instagram and lets users know when a person of interest is nearby, anywhere from two miles to one block away. Individuals will show up on the Cloak map in bubbles, which fade away after two hours, and disappear completely after four.
While the app has obvious personal uses (i.e. – avoiding that awkward run-in with your ex), businesses can also use it to remind customers that they exist. For example, if a bar posts a photo or check-in to their own location, it will pop up on a follower's Cloak map.
As far as privacy concerns go, Baker doesn’t anticipate any trouble since Cloak only extracts information from what users are already put out there (Instagram users have to geo-tag their photos). Cloak just makes it easier to see where people are at any given time. If you've blocked a user on Instagram or vice versa, that person's information will not show up on the map.
As more networks add location data, Cloak plans to expand the social networks whose location data it uses. Baker says that Twitter location data is vague, but it hasn’t been ruled out. Future possibilities include Snapchat and Tinder.
Cloak's founders say they knew the app would be a hit when it launched earlier this month. Sure enough, it got a shoutout on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday and downloads spiked. As of Friday afternoon, Cloak ranks fourteenth in free social networking apps in the Apple store.
"It worked out exactly as I had planned," Baker said.
Baker has made a career out of launching viral projects. In 2012, he created Unbaby.me which was a browser plugin that replaced baby pictures on Facebook with pictures of cats. The plugin has since been renamed Rather, and lets you replace almost any annoying photo or post in your feed with something else of your choosing.