Wednesday, October 5, 2011

check in and get hooked up

One of the hottest trends to hit the Internet right now would have to be location-based social apps. These apps aim to build connections out of people who share not only common interests but also common or at least proximate locations. Convenience being the main attraction, this new wave of services is sure to take online dating to a whole new level.

I heard about this app called Grindr in a fairly recent convo/chismisan session with some friends. They said it's a location-based dating application particularly made for gay men to help them locate others nearby. Users only need to create a profile with a photo and a brief description of themselves, then select their interests from a long list of options. It also has a "check-in" feature similar to that of Facebook so that users can broadcast their location to others. This app was a big hit that it spawned another one called Blendr, which has similar features except that it caters only to straight men and women.

These location-based apps may have their "social" benefits but security must always be on the top of our minds. I personally think that these hook-up apps are risky and have the potential of creating new avenues for crimes. You can never be sure if the person you're about to meet really does have good intentions. Moreover, there's the possibility of being stalked, harassed, raped or robbed by sharing your current location.

Privacy is a very serious concern when it comes to the use of these new services. Application developers should come up with improved privacy controls capable of accurately filtering information shared and contacts who can have access to such information. At the end of the day though, regardless of privacy controls, everything would still be left to the users to decide. I guess people just have to be extra smart and careful these days.

Entry #16

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