Shutterstock.com

Find out the locations of all the people you direly want to avoid.

Does human interaction make you want to crawl under a pile of pillows, like a terrified bedroom groundhog? Then the app Cloak is perfect for you: It uses social-media services to sense the locations of your acquaintances, so you can plan to be far, far away.

Cloak promises to give its users an "Incognito Mode" for going out in public. "Cloak scrapes Instagram and Foursquare to let you know where all your friends, 'friends,' and nonfriends are at all times so you never have to run into that special someone," reads the pitch on iTunes, where it's available for free. "Think of it as the antisocial network."

The interface is subtly funny: It shows people you know as tiny heads in bubbles aligned over a street grid, so you can chart a route through them like Pac-Man evading the scary ghosts: 

For those worried they might forget to check their phone every minute of the day, and wind up staring into the face of a high-school girlfriend or that stalkerish guy from work, there's also an alert feature: The app will ping you should an especially squirm-inducing person enters your geographic safety zone.

Over at Treehugger, Derek Markham expresses a few reservations about this technology:

In the light of our habit of oversharing, and of connecting to people on social media that we wouldn't otherwise hang out with, some part of this antisocial app makes sense to me, because we don't always want to connect in real life with everyone in our social network. However, it really does beg the question of why we want to connect with others in the digital world, while wishing we could avoid them in the physical world.

I would add one more criticism – if you're this concerned about bumping into someone you'd rather not, you don't need an app. Just don't go outside, ever.

Top image: Felix MizioznikovShutterstock.com

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

    Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.

  2. Opponents of SB 50.
    Equity

    Despite Resistance, Cities Turn to Density to Tackle Housing Inequality

    Residential "upzoning” policies being adopted from Minneapolis to Seattle were once politically out of the question. Now they’re just politically fraught.

  3. A map of the money service-class workers have left over after paying for housing
    Equity

    Blue-Collar and Service Workers Fare Better Outside Superstar Cities

    How much money do workers have after paying housing costs? For working-class and service workers in superstar cities, the affordable housing crisis hits harder.

  4. Two horses standing in a field with fences and a large white barn in the background.
    Design

    America’s First Greenbelt May Be in Jeopardy

    Adopted in the 1950s to protect the city’s iconic horse farms, the urban growth boundary of Lexington, Kentucky, no longer seems unassailable.

  5. Car with Uber spray painted on it.
    Transportation

    The Dangerous Standoff Between Uber and Buenos Aires

    While Uber and Argentine officials argue over whether the company is an app or a transportation company, drivers suffer fines, violence, and instability.