The Highlight App is a perfect example of a new breed of applications that is freaking people out…
Most of these extended permission apps freak out privacy-wary people who are afraid to login to anything with an email or a social login due to potential ramifications of being over-identified, located, retargeted, followed, spammed, etc… The new Highlight App requires extended permissions because it’s based on your Facebook social graph and uses that data to geo-locate you in relation to your friends or friends-of-friends or anybody using the Hightlight App (not that many yet…)
The Highlight app definitely falls into the extended permissions category but it’s much scarier…
Even people who are totally fine with doing and sharing everything online are a little freaked out by this technology! It’s the scariest and coolest app I’ve seen in a while.
When I say the Highlight app is cool, I don’t mean “cool” in a way that should appeal to the aesthetics of design focused hipsters the way Instagram and Pintrest do. Highlight is cool simply because it’s really, really useful – at least I think it is, or it could be… Maybe even a new kind of useful.
Unlike most consumer apps that are designed to suck you in and waste your time… i.e. make you spend more and more and more of your time on their site or app, this one appears to be good for, if anything, getting off the app ASAP to socialize and communicate offline.
Imagine that! A social app that enables offline social engagement? The Highlight app has this potential.
It’s too new and too early to tell how this tool will really be used, but it should be the catalyst for a few things that I think are good in general:
- bringing online people together offline
- Segmenting your hyper-location, based on friend and interest relevance
- focusing on “now” and the near future (as opposed to the near or distant past) – a lot of “social media” is a nostalgic scrapbook of life already lived
Who knows, but I see this as a signal of good things to come. A lot has been written in 2011 and early 2012 about how we no longer have time for anything. Bandwidth and information limitations, etc.
We’re all accessible 24/7 to everyone for any reason and as a result we find ourselves stuck online all the time. We’re all doing the same things as everyone else, but we’re doing it individually.
Research is coming out suggesting that online “social” behavior doesn’t make us happier, more content, or more social… in fact, there is evidence to the contrary.
I’m imagining how product developers could potentially measuring success here in new ways. Not traditional analytic KPIs like CTR, bounce rate, time on site, etc., but if a notification leads to an offline interaction???
Re-defining the conversion event… i.e. Jim was notified that Sarah was also at SFO terminal 3 and they met for coffee!
Screenshots from Highlight via the Apple App Store
If you’re interested in location apps, I’ve written a follow up piece here titled Location, Location, Location…. Now What? Check it out!