Do you remember the good old days, when homeowners left their front doors unlocked and when the parents’ only concern was that their kids came home without scrapes on their knees? How about those humorous moments when you ended up with someone else’s photos after a mix-up at the lab? If those times set you in a nostalgic mood or if you simply want to experience a fleck of the period everyone is constantly praising these days, then here is an interesting tool you might want to check out.
Rando is essentially an experimental photo exchange platform based on a simple, yet slightly bizarre principle: the app allows you to send and receive pictures to and from anonymous users worldwide. While you might argue that peeking into another person’s life is dangerous, it is necessary to mention that the only information available for users is the general location (Paris, New York, Moscow) where the photo was taken.
Ustwo is the independent UK based mobile game and app development studio that came up with this brilliant experiment. The company is well known for its groundbreaking user experience implementation and is currently the digital partner of international corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, H&M, Sony Ericsson, Sony and Turner. Founded in 2004, the developer of popular apps like MouthOff or Whale Trail has grown quite quickly and this year is planning to open its third studio in New York.
When we said “catch a glimpse of someone else’s life” we weren’t kidding. Irrespective of whether you send or receive pics, all photos will be framed in a circle, somehow similar to a peephole effect. According to the developer, this element aims to increase the aura of mystery as well as help create the brand image. Other than that and a vague contextual location, you shouldn’t expect any similarities to a standard photo-sharing service. In other words, you won’t be able to tag the pics as favorites, like them, post any comment and you shouldn’t expect to receive an instant photo swap gratification.
A quick look at its main features
- Rando is hosted on the Heroku cloud application platform
- The social network features have been intentionally removed from the app, although some might perceive it as a bug
- The app permits you to build impressive collections of photos from all around the world
- You can flag a photo as inappropriate if you find it offensive in any way
- Users have access to a special channel where they can share all the ugly, boring and awkward shots
More often than not, while cloud storage means minimal server setup and maintenance, it also implies that it comes with no files system to store uploads. However, it is necessary to mention that Rando’s developers have overcome these setbacks by using Amazon S3 suits for this precise purpose. In addition, the app integrates AFNetworking for communication with the server and also kept the UI as minimalistic as possible.
While they agreed that the simplistic interface was a wild card, let’s not forget that the main role of Rando is to inspire the feeling that users are participating in an experiment, keep the focal point on user generated content and to be different from any of the standard social networks. Speaking of the developer’s idea of an “anti-social photo sharing app”, with Rando you can’t like or comment on a pic and if you wanted to, you could even hide the general location.
Leaving the interesting idea behind the app aside for a second, users have pointed out that Rando is lacking those settings that allow you to craft and polish the pics before sending them. In addition, some users might find the lacking lenses, additional frames (except the peephole one) and filters slightly irritating.
In a nutshell
Because we live in the age when social communication between users is crucial for the success of businesses, many wondered if the app in question makes any sense. After all, everyone knows that users are not motivated by apps and tools they have no control over, right? While these are all legit questions and there are a lot more things to say about Rando, the truth is if you browse through Google Play or Apple Store you will surprised with the app’s rating and popularity.