Would you like to check in? With seemingly endless streams of apps, social channels and technology encouraging us to send up a flare and reveal our location, the rest of the world knows exactly where we are, all of the time. As we share every Bellini and banoffee pie with the rest of the human race, we are tacitly adding to the omniscient data cloud which companies tap into to find and reach us with targeted advertising.
But what if somebody wanted to use all that information to evade, rather than find, all those people? Well, there’s an app for that; enter ‘Avoid Humans.’
‘Avoid Humans’ collects check-in and location based data from Foursquare and Instagram and then presents you with a host of nearby coffee shops, drinking holes, clubs and areas of ‘Refuge’ (parks, leisure centre and the like) in the local area and rates them according to how many humans are infesting the place. These levels of warning range from the calming green circle welcoming agoraphobics, to an amber circle indicating a judgement call is required (‘assuming you have good judgement’, they hasten to add) and the glaring red ring warning of impending human crush, declaring simply – ‘Run’.
Launched in March at SXSW in Austin, Texas to help the hordes of tech bloggers descending for the annual conferences find a spot in the city to hear themselves think, ‘Avoid Humans’ is still in its infancy. It is currently only a web-based app with limited geographical scope, which isn’t helped by a reliance on people checking in using Instagram and Foursquare. Although it will find places local to you in London, it gives you the human – free green light for every option – clearly it needs to broaden its scope of social channels and embrace mobile if it wants to fully deliver on its enticing promise and be of real value to users.
Describing itself as ‘Your temporary respite from the masses’, this leftfield use of location-based data may appear solely for recluses or the weirdos skulking in the corner at a party, but it offers something those of us living in the eye of an urban storm may really struggle to find; genuine quiet time.
As we continue to live more of our busy lives online, privacy looks to be on the wane and secluded spots in restaurants or a hushed corner in a pub are impossible to find as long as everyone follows apps recommending the trendiest spots in town. Offering real respite and a moment of serenity then, is a pretty appealing trade-off for the slight pang of guilt for wanting to escape the rest of humanity.
Of course, the app becoming popular does pose the risk of causing the reverse effect – causing all of the quiet spots it recommends to suddenly become heaving and disappointing everyone who just wanted to get away from it all in the first place. In any case, the whole thing may be futile – one person claiming to be trying to avoid humans with the app’s help in London would fail entirely because everywhere would be heaving no matter what.
‘Avoid Humans’ does however offer a glimpse of the vast potential to use location based data from social media to offer something locally of real, if slightly antisocial, value to those using it. Perhaps we should just hope for it to stay hush hush?
The post Apptastic: Find Quiet Amongst the Chaos With ‘Avoid Humans’ appeared first on VCCP.