Cloak is a new app that allows users to hide from their friends while online. Social networking provides the ability to share information and interact with others who may have similar interests, and there may be hundreds of apps that allow users to share your locations with others. Using GPS technology, it is easy to find people with whom users can share interests in real time.
Developers of Cloak hope to take advantage of the need for some degree of privacy as there may be instances, where users may visit places without others knowing, and what can seem to be contradictory, some people may appreciate a degree of solace, or the need to avoid others while networking or conducting personal affairs. They fact that we are now much closer to constant connectivity may make it much more difficult to maintain privacy.
The free Cloak app, billed as the anti-social network, is currently only available for iOS platform only and can be downloaded from iTunes.
The use of location data is what powers the use of this app, that appears to be just the opposite of what social networking was all about, or intended to be. The cloak app uses the location data to help you to avoid others. It gives the location of others based on their last posts, so that you can avoid meeting them.
The current data location is pulled from Foursquare and Instagram, and if you see any of your friends currently on the site you can avoid them, if you wish to do so. It does nothing if the people you wish to avoid are on Facebook or Twitter, or other social networks. The developers say that they will be adding more features and additional networks as time progresses.
When installed on your iPhone, the iOS app scours the accounts of your friends and acquaintances on Instagram and Foursquare, and creates a user-friendly map, that indicates when and where they have checked in or uploaded photos. You are also allowed to target a list of people to be avoided , and an alert is issued whenever they are within a certain distance. It also lets you list specific people you want to avoid.
Although there are only two networks included, the developers say that they will add the world biggest social network, Facebook in the very near future.
Developers Chris Baker and Brian Moore says that location data provided by Twitter is too weak to be meaningful, but hope that may also be added in the future.
Cloak is not seen as a revolt against social networking but it can be used to provide a respite to those who may be in need of break. Moore and Chris Baker say that users are finding more creatives ways to use it, and they also expect the popularity to increase with a backlash that is sometimes expressed against social networking, and Cloak can be handy as it allows users to hide from your friends and others.
The product tag-line is Incognito mode for real life, and the popularity of apps such as these can provide indication of the sentiment that surrounds social networking. There continues to be questions and debates concerning privacy and openness in the world of social networking, at the same time there is search for a middle ground that exists between both worlds
The reviews for the free app are all positive, and it has been given a 4+ rating. It would be interesting to note how the future unfolds for apps like Cloak, that allows users to hide from friends and others.It may be ushering a new era of being connected while still being able to have some privacy.
By Dale Davidson