Although I sat out this year’s SxSW interactive, recent news out of Austin caught my eye. A Stanford professor, along with some of her PhD students, have launched a new app called “Omlet Chat.” Omlet is a new app focused on maintaining privacy in a social network and demonstrates the trending interest in smaller, more private social networks.
TREND: Small is the new Big
Let’s look at some of the driving factors driving the Small is Big trend:
- As widely reported, teens are leaving Facebook. This may or may not be true but what is true is that people don’t necessarily want to share everything with their entire network. People want to share information selectively and they don’t want the information shared to live forever.
- Growing privacy concerns as seen by Edward Snowden’s virtual visit to SxSW where he shared his belief that governments are hacking internet communications. More and more individuals are realizing what they are giving up in terms of their personal information.
- The publicly traded “Big 3″ of social media networking are focused on driving revenue – not user privacyt. And on Facebook, Google and Twitter, the user generated data is the source of monetization, don’t look for real privacy options there.
Social Network Privacy Apps on the Rise
We’re seeing more social networking apps with increased privacy controls ranging from anonymous to semi-private.
- SnapChat, once seen as the “sexting app” now reports it is sharing more pictures per day than Facebook (these numbers are self-reported so apply a grain of salt here)
- Secret, is an anonymous social network, allows you to anonymously learn shared secrets from your friends
- In a relationship? Check out Couple, an app for two
How will the “Big 3″ respond to privacy?
- Facebook will likely continue to buy its way into new trends (e.g Instagram, WhatsApp)
- Google+ has Circles which provides sharing controls, of course they still own everything shared on their network
- Twitter has built it’s network on open communication. Normally I’d say they’d stay out of this space but with increased concerns on revenue, look for them to make a move if the privacy trend continues.
More on Omlet
What’s interesting about Omlet? Omlet promises not to monetize your information and it allows you to keep your files and photos on your cloud storage provider like Dropbox or Box.net.