“Cloakd is an android app that lets its users send anonymous messages to their Facebook friends. Thus opening the doors to endless possibilities where honesty is the only medium,” was the one line email introduction of the app from the Co-founder Piyush Grover (Other co-founders: Arihant Agarwal, Rahul Gupta, Piyush Pandey.).
My first reaction to this was - one more anonymous app riding on the success of the new love for anonymity. Besides I felt that it was cheap to talk to Facebook friends behind a mask. Before I could pass my judgement on the startup’s hard work, I downloaded the Android app and started interacting with Piyush over email.
“Being honest is a great way to help people improve, yet in the real world, it’s not used as often as it probably should be. That has more to do with how we put more emphasis on the messenger than the message. So, we wanted to build a platform where people can unmask their real thoughts without the hesitancy that revealing their identity brings. We believe anonymity is a great power if used in the right way, “ Piyush shared on being asked if his new app is trying to ride on the global success of anonymous apps.
He further added, “Cloakd works in a way that it lets you chat directly (& privately) with your Facebook friends without revealing your identity. A lot of the other apps based on anonymity are more of sharing your thoughts anonymously in a public space (more like your Facebook wall but making it very easy for people to defame others in public).”
I decided to give Cloakd a try.
After logging in via Facebook the below screen grab is what you get as the home screen (the app images have been used from the Play store for security reasons).
Thereafter the app is simple to use. The top right corner has search, add and settings icons to carry out the required activities on the app. Click on the ‘+’ icon to start a new anonymous chat. The app pulls up the list of all the Facebook friends with a search option that makes life easy if you are popular on the network.
Select a friend with whom you want to have an anonymous chat and let your imagination flow. The below screen grab gives you a quick look of the messaging option.
For those who are not on the app, Piyush informed that they will receive an email notification about an anonymous message they have received from “someone in their friend list.” To read the anonymous message, they will have to install Cloakd on their phone. The question arises here, will you click on such mails or delete it considering it spam or a marketing message?
Another feature worth mentioning here is the ‘Credits’ which you can locate by clicking on the settings icon. The app gives you one credit with your first anonymous message, and thereafter your credits get added or deduced depending on your behavior and activities on the app. “Users who have negative credits are unable to open any new received anonymous chats (as opening a new received anonymous chat requires 1 credit). The entire mechanism helps us in creating a balance between sending and receiving of new anonymous messages, in reaching out to a lot of people and discouraging any kind of abuse through the block feature and consequent loss of credits.”
Along with Credits, a user can always block any anonymous user at any given point. A blocked user also loses credits. The feature is located in the messaging window’s setting option.
Is it an interesting anonymous app?
Building the anonymity feature over Facebook friends, Cloakd should be interesting since that is one network where Indians are spending most of their time. “There could be all kinds of people in your Facebook friend list- an annoying boss/colleague, a college crush, a friend you wronged, a friend you feel has an extremely annoying habit, someone you have great respect for. So, the possibilities could be endless and there’s much that can be accomplished with honesty (especially when it’s coming from people you know),” added Piyush.
The app definitely scores on the interface and experience. It is simple to use with no glitches. Features like Credits and Blocking users should give confidence to users to give the app a try.
Within a week of its launch, Cloakd has managed to get almost 500 downloads and the count is increasing at a good rate, informed the founder.
The app might face a problem in bringing in new users. As Cloakd sends email to new users when they receive new anonymous messages, users locating such emails being sent from apps and reading them could be unlikely. With Gmail getting smarter day by day, the challenge increases for Cloakd.
Will you install Cloakd to chat anonymously with your Facebook friends? If not, then what stops you from joining the app?