Cloak uses location data from Foursquare and Instagram to let people steer clear of their exes or acquaintances.
Let’s be real – few people using apps like Foursquare or the iPhone’s ‘Find My Friends’ app are actually looking to run into their friends. Most of the time, they’re showing off the cultural currency inherent in their current location – until they receive news of an undesirable person, such as an ex, approaching, at which point they flee. That’s the premise behind Cloak, which alerts you whenever certain people are nearby using data pulled from their Foursquare and Instagram – with the goal of avoiding them. “For instance, if you really hate John, Cloak can buzz you when he’s within a ten-mile radius,” writes Nicholas Tufnell at Wired UK.
The app recognizes the limitations of most apps’ location data, making a user’s icon fade if their location hasn’t changed for four hours – suggesting they may have moved and the data may no longer be accurate. According to the App Store, the app doesn’t use Twitter data yet because “most users have it turned off and even when it’s on, it’s quite vague.”
Of course, there are all kinds of positive and friendly uses the app could be put to as well. The app is pretty bare-bones for now, but the developers told Wired UK that they’re hoping to do some interesting things with the data that the app utilizes in the future, such as determining a person’s habitual behaviors, and perhaps send you on to (sponsored?) alternative locations. They could “…determine where your friends are even when there’s no location data at that moment, like ‘Nicholas eats brunch at Bubby’s every Sunday. Try this other place to avoid him.’” Of course, you could also just turn off location services, but what kind of fun would that be?