Nov 4 2010
*Disclaimer. This article may cause serious emotional distress to paranoid schizophrenics and those who think the government or strange birds are stalking them. Please proceed with caution- people ARE watching you.
One thing that’s great about college is that everybody is in the same general vicinity. By the fourth or fifth year it can take forever to get across campus because you run into so many people. Eventually you might start taking alternate routes so you can get to where you’re going. Once college is over however this is no longer the case. Friends disperse throughout the world and the likelihood of running into people you know goes down significantly.
What if there was a way to track where acquaintances of yours are at any given time? So if you’re running out for a bite to eat and the guys from your old band are just around the corner, you could meet up. Or if you’re trying to find out what club to go to that night you could check to see which one your friends are at. Now there’s a way to do just that. Coloci (rhymes with cacti), is a new site that will let you track all your movements and see those of your friends. When you’re close to each other you’ll pop up on each other’s radars making it easy to meet up.
The first thing to know about Coloci is that it doesn’t update anyone with your whereabouts without your knowledge. It’s a social network of friends where your commonality is the distance between each other. When people get closer they’ll appear on your radar so you know that they’re around. This is done by updating Coloci with your trips. Whether you’re going to the store, across the country, or across the world, trips can be added to track your location. The two default ‘trips’ are home and work. These are the first things you configure. All trips, including work, can have the option to be recurring. Every day of your life. When no other trips are scheduled it assumes you’re at home. Alone. So very alone.
Coloci has many useful options. One of my favorites is the ability to create custom alerts for different people. So if you have a friend that lives 25 miles away you may only want to be alerted when they’re right next door. For friends from different countries you may want an alert when they’re a hundred miles away. Alerts can be configured based upon your relationship and preference.
Friends are added by inviting them from your existing email address books or by adding them by email address manually. Once connected, they’re all assigned to a group. When a trip is added you can share it with whichever group you like, or none at all. This allows you to maintain different tiers of privacy as you see fit. Also, invisible trips can be added if the trip is tentative or you don’t want to announce it yet.
There’s one feature that’s currently on the table with Coloci, which I’m personally lobbying for: the option to make your location public. Right now your location will only be displayed to those friends you share it with. Some people love attention though and could care less if the whole world knows when they’re going to Starbucks. They definitely want people to know when they’re out at an expensive restaurant, on a date, or whatever else it is they might be doing. We see these updates all the time on Twitter or Facebook. As long as it’s clear that a user’s trips are being broadcast to the world, I think it would be a fun addition. Coloci is rapidly rolling out features. Their iPhone app is coming soon.
Let’s face it. Anybody who wants to stalk you already knows where you are. Keeping one’s address and comings and goings secret is nearly impossible. And the government knows far more about us than we care to think about. If they wanted to they could zap us with their space laser this very evening. So let’s embrace this change to the world with live in and use it to enhance our lives.
The world gets bigger as our friends move to distant locations. Coloci lets you know when they’re close again so you can meet up and enjoy their company once more.