As social networks become more prominent, integrating into every facet of our lives, we’ve started to outgrow some of the labels the services use. “Friends” is a term used broadly by these networks in situations that we wouldn’t necessarily use it. Co-workers, acquaintances from high school, and friends of friends who we met at a party once and they drunkenly insisted we connect with them make up a healthy chunk of “friends.” And that virtual link makes it easier for those people to approach us in real life, regardless our wishes. Cloak is an app that makes it as easy to avoid them in real life as it is online.
Cloak’s functionality is made possible thanks to the liberal online definition of friendship. Because you, like the rest of us, have at some point made the mistake of adding people you really have no interest in communicating with on networks designed for communication, you now have the information Cloak needs to make sure you never run into those people. It connects with Foursquare and Instagram and pulls location data from your connections to show who’s nearby. Users can flag people they want to avoid and Cloak will provide an alert if that person shows up within a defined radius.