New App Helps You Avoid People You Don’t Want To See

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  • Ever been on a first date or made a quick run to the grocery store in pajamas and hoped you didn’t run into anyone? What about playing hooky from work?

    Well there’s an app for that.

    Cloak is a free iPhone app that pulls in location check-ins from your contacts’ Instagram and Foursquare accounts. It maps out the positions of people you know based on their most recent social posts so you can give them the slip.

    Cloak’s tagline is “Incognito mode for real life.” You might say it’s an anti-social network. Click on a bubble on the map, and you’ll see a person’s name, his or her location and about how long ago he or she checked in there. If it was a while ago, the image will appear faded, like a ghost.

    The app lets people set up push alerts for acquaintances they’d prefer to avoid such as exes, frenemies or annoying co-workers. If someone wants to drop off the grid completely, they can set up these notifications for everyone in his social networks — presumably while sneaking through dark alleys or hiding behind sunglasses and a hat.

    The app only works with Foursquare and Instagram for now, so it has limited usefulness if your friends aren’t active on those networks. But the developers hope to add Facebook soon. They say Twitter’s location information is still weak, but they may add that service as well someday.
    Dodging friends isn’t necessarily an anti-social activity.

    The app is still young, but users have already found creative, social ways to use it. Some are exploring Instagram images by using the map, while others have set up alerts for people they do want to see.

    In theory, someone could use the app purposefully to run into people who’d rather be ignored. To prevent any unwanted abuse of your location information, lock down your privacy settings and don’t share your whereabouts unless you’re comfortable with people knowing exactly where you are.

    What do you think of the app? Is it something you’d be interested in downloading? 

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