There's no shortage of social apps that help you connect with friends both in real life and over the web -- take Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, for example. But what about those serendipitous moments that you'd rather avoid, such as bumping into an ex-girlfriend or co-worker during a night out?
Enter Cloak, a new "antisocial app" that uses your friends' social media activity to pinpoint their location, so you can steer clear of them in real life. Co-creator Brian Moore developed the app after he endured four awkward encounters with his ex-girlfriend in six months after moving to New York.
Cloak, which is free and currently available only for iOS, combs your Instagram and Foursquare accounts for your friends' latest check-ins. Then it adds their last-known location to a map. You can set up notifications for specific people you want to avoid, and the app notifies you when they're within a certain radius of you.
Once you connect your Instagram and Foursquare accounts, Cloak loads a map of your location and alerts you to how many of your friends are nearby. You can zoom in and out of the map to view more, and you can click on the bubbles to view the exact locations of where they last checked in. Tapping a bubble also lets you flag a user, which means the app will alert you when that user is within two miles, one mile, half a mile, or one block of you.
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Moore spent the last eight months with co-founder Chris Baker developing the app. The duo told Newsweek that the app got more than 100,000 users in a week, thanks in part to a plug from The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. Baker is no stranger to antisocial apps, either: He created the popular browser extension unbaby.me, which rids your Facebook news feed of annoying baby pictures.
Cloak's real usefulness, however, hinges on how active your friends are on Instagram and Foursquare. The app has not yet integrated Facebook's geolocation data, though the founders said they plan to integrate it. That would no doubt improve the service. Twitter's location data is omitted because it is too vague, according to Cloak's App Store description.
As social media apps continue to push users to share more, Cloak provides users with a different approach to privacy. Have you found the app useful? Share your thoughts with us.
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