By logging on to Facebook and other social networking sites, users
can choose people they do not want to see.
"Everybody has somebody they want to avoid," said Udi Dagan, chief
executive officer of Israel-based technology company Split. "For
some people, it's their exes; for others, it's their bosses or even
relatives that they don't feel like bumping into during their free
With Split, a free app for iOS and Android devices, users log on to
Facebook and select people from their social network they do not
want to meet. The app sends an alert when they are nearby and shows
a route on a map to avoid them.
The Cloak app for iOS works in a similar way through Foursquare or
Instagram, sending a notification if the person comes from within
half a block to 2 miles away.
"You can tap on someone and flag them," said Brian Moore, co-founder
of Cloak, a New York-based company. "That means you'll get
background notifications whenever they come close to you."
The creators of the apps, which are available worldwide, said all
the information was already publicly available and that they were
simply aggregating it into one place.
Split and Cloak gather location data from social network updates and
check-ins. Photo-sharing network Instagram includes location data
whenever a photo is uploaded. Both apps gather data from Foursquare
and Instagram, and Split gets additional data from Facebook and
The information is as accurate as a person's last update or check-in
that contained his or her location.
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Split also collects data from people using their app, and allows
them to hide their location so others cannot see where they are.
Some people may consider the apps anti-social, but Moore does not.
"Anti-social is when you never want to see anybody," he said. "In
reality, everyone has a side where they just want to be alone."
Craig Palli, chief strategy office at Boston-based mobile marketing
company Fiksu, said the apps were an inevitable progression in the
"So much of our lives have become open and public," he said. "It's
the first sign of a trend that people want to break from that."
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Lisa Von Ahn)
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