Glassboard, a new mobile app for sharing privately with groups, just launched from my friends at Sepia Labs. They’re seeing some good initial coverage from ReadWriteWeb and Macworld and twitter is abuzz with people setting up private groups (which I find oddly amusing – but since there is no way to discover a “private board” – it makes sense.)
Glassboard highlights an interesting dynamic in the market that I’ve referenced before namely that collectively, as the creators and early adopters of technology, we still haven’t figured out the right balance of what information should be public and what should be private, and how this information should be used in the social graph.
Take location information as an example. One of the things Glassboard allows you to share with a group is your location, but they make it just as easy not to share it. You may recall that in March I had a foursquare checkin scare whereby someone tracked me down at a restaurant and called me on the phone to spook me because they knew my location. It worked – that interaction then led to me rethinking how I use my social graph – and, more specifically, how and with whom I share my location.
Location is one of those uniquely personal data points that, when used inappropriately, can leave you (or the people you care about) hugely vulnerable. And even though this vulnerability exists, your location is casually being used by advertisers to send you geo-ads and its being attached to all your photos. On one hand, its a great piece of data that can be really helpful when you need to tell people where you are or where you were, but on the other hand, the ways it can be used inappropriately are innumerable.
The Glassboard folks have recognized the sensitivity of location data and have implemented the strict end user controls over how, when and with whom to use it. They’ve also done a bunch of other interesting and important things in their group sharing app – I encourage you to check it out if you are on iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile 7.