Cocoon, a new app from some ex-Facebook employees, wants to solve some of the main issues with social networks by creating a space only for “the most important people in your life”.
The idea for the app is like the cross between the family WhatsApp group and a Facebook newsfeed. You can create your space, whether it’s for family or close friends, and you can post messages, have video calls, see people’s locations and statuses, as well as sharing pictures. You can also start private chats with members of the group by “waving”. These conversations will disappear once you leave the chat.
A new feature to be added soon will add automatic flight tracking, so you can keep your family updated on your travels.
Co-founder Sachin Monga was a product manager at Facebook before going through the respected Silicon Valley Y-Combinator accelerator programme to launch the new app, along with Alex Cornell. The team recently raised $3 million (£2.3 million) and though the app is currently free, it will add paid subscriptions in the future.
In an interview with Quartz, Monga describes the app as “my home on my phone,” in order to say connected with his family in Toronto, New York and San Francisco. “We haven’t shared a physical home in 17 years, but we’re still a family, and we thought there should be sophisticated software to handle that. It’s seemingly obvious that there should be an app on your phone for the most import people in your life,” he said.
If you’re worried about privacy, Monga says Cocoon will not be sharing data with third parties as the app will not be serving ads to the people using it. In addition, anything shared in the app is encrypted – the team are working on full end-to-end encryption, used by WhatsApp, which is stronger than the current encryption protocol they’re using – so you can be safe in the knowledge that no one else will be able to access.
It’s certainly an interesting proposition. Instagram tried to do something similar this year with the launch of Threads, an app that allows you to keep in touch and send photos to only people on your Close Friends list. Facebook is reportedly working on something around the Close Friends list too – after all CEO Mark Zuckerberg told us that the future of social networking is privacy at this year’s F8 Developer Conference.
And why not? WhatsApp has done extremely well as the social app that keeps you connected privately – it has 1.5 billion monthly users around the world. Other more niche apps, like Peanut, have also thrived on creating private spaces for people to talk and socialise. It looks like Cocoon may be on to a winner.
Cocoon is available to download on the Apple App Store now
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