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Apps tap need for ‘avoid’ function in real-life networks

Trying to avoid an awkward encounter? New apps can help people avoid bumping into others.

“Everybody has somebody they want to avoid,” Udi Dagan, the chief executive of Israeli-based technology company Split, said.

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 near and shows a route on a map to avoid encountering them.

The Cloak app for iOS works in a similar way, sending a notification if the person comes near.

Split and Cloak gather location data from social network updates and check-ins. Both apps gather data from Foursquare and Instagram, and Split gets additional data from Facebook and Twitter.

The information is as accurate as a person’s last update or check-in containing his or her location.

Split also collects data from people using the app, and allows them to hide their location so others cannot see where they are.

Some people may consider the apps anti-social, but Brian Moore, a co-founder of Cloak, 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, the chief strategy officer at mobile marketing company Fiksu, said the apps were an inevitable progression. “So much of our lives have become public. It’s the first sign that people want to break from that.” – Reuters

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