closar - social group sharing for more online privacy
What is this project all about?
- Social Group Messenger for Mac, PC & all known Smartphones
- Native room structure - also for 2 people
- Intuitive Interface
- Sharing of all kinds of data (photos, videos, links, location, etc.)
- No central profile for everyone to see
- No Facebook Account needed
- Everything users erase will be erased from the servers
- No collection and profiling of personal data for commercial reasons
Whatever you post, share, scream or whisper will only exist in your one shared room.
The Idea or: How we plan to bring the people closar together again:
Big Social Networks with personal profiles like Facebook (or Diaspora) are perfect for sharing everyday data that is meant for a lot of people. Just think of all the political changes thanks to the social web, the tracking of criminals or the spreading of new ideas.
Only there is more: our personal privacy. Private holiday pictures, party pics, the video of a birth or our daily location. This kind of information is usually meant for only 2 or 3 small groups of 3, 4, 6 or 7 close friends to see, not 200+ people. Actual social networks offer certain ways to select and „channel“ who can see what through what they call lists or aspects. But either way, both modify connections from 1:n - from one to very many people - which will always be complex. We can never be sure of who will see or use what we post on big social networks. Closar kills the profile and puts the rooms itself in front. Some content "lies" only in this room, some only in that. Nothing is accidentally visible for other friends through a central profile or "node". Furthermore it would just come in handy to share a link with your best friend on the sofa with 3 clicks - not having to open email or facebook or whatever.
We plan to fill this gap and give all users some digital privacy back.
Closar is no next big social network thing. It is a multi-platform Social Group Messenger to dodge from facebook whenever you want or need to. It‘s not about connecting to all of your friends, it is a handy tool to open undisturbed little rooms with few friends or relatives on a daily basis. In these rooms you get to share your very personal stuff - not having to care about who is seeing what - because it only exists in this one room. We believe that this way of sharing comes far closer to a „hang out“ or the time-spending with your best friends.
To accomplish that goal, we did a little mashup. We took what we already consider being private, simple and fast: the SMS (or Whatsapp), added a intuitive room structure and merged it with all the skills that big networks have today: sharing on all platforms and devices while being able to share links, photos, videos, locations and calendar data at the same time.
You want to share a link to a new music video or an upcoming party. You use a big social network to tell as many friends as possible about it. It‘s just perfect. But what do you do with late pictures of the same party? Maybe these are only meant for your few 100% trustworthy friends to see. Or your location at 4 at night? Risk of sharing it with too many people is pretty high on a big network. For those tasks you shall be able to use Closar in some month.
That way no human resources co-worker can see this very private content just because you set the privacy settings incorrectly being distracted or in a hurry. Only one false click on a central network and 200+ friends can see you drunk all over the place. Or your location at 4:10 am in the heart of the party-area. What happened is that you shared it to meet your 4 best friends for a late burger after the party. One false click later not only all your „friends“ could see that through a big network - an algorithm will still know this in 10 or 20 years. Cross-referenced in the "right" way with the "right" intent this information might become very unpleasant to you one day.
Closar would have shared these facts only with the exact 4 friends you wanted to meet. Because you shared it solely in your private „room“.
And this is how it works:
You set up a room, invite a few good friends and say and share anything you like. Once you don‘t need the room anymore, you erase it from your Closar and leave it to the others. After hours, weeks or months. The remaining room-members can keep on using this room, no matter who created it.
We want to make it so you can feel like hanging out with your few best friends in reality. Where you can say and share things and they just fade away - not caring about the consequences in 10 years.
To achieve this „feeling“ we give you the choice. Once you leave a room, you can choose if you want your shared content to be erased as well. That way you can choose if you want to leave the pictures or the video to your friends or not.
Enabled by the „architecture“ of closed rooms without central profile we can re-interpret the „persistence“ of personal data. Your possession - your choice.
There will be rooms you will use on a daily basis. You can mark those as favorites. They will stay at the top of your display. Your very best friends only 1 click away.
Touch Interfaces give us the opportunity to make sharing more intuitive and easy - especially for non digital-natives and older users. Combined with the fact that there will be almost no privacy settings needed due to our room structure, we can create a way of sharing that everyone can enjoy.
In one sentence:
The rooms and missing profiles make sharing more private, the new erasing-option makes it less final and the interface makes it...just fun to use.
What is project goal and who is the project for?
How we respect your privacy:
Many moves we make online today are being tracked for commercial purposes. Personal profiles are built about us in the background. Learning about our preferences in food, cars, holidays, clothes, etc., summed up to an accurate picture of ourselves. This is not basically a problem and very handy in different cases. Only an area of protection for our personal privacy does not exist on the Social Web yet. We just wished for a place (or service), where we can all chat and hang and share in total privacy with our best friends not minding the consequences.
It makes sense to collect personal user data if you need to enhance search algorithms or to offer the best fitting products to users. But too much of our very private data collected at one place and linked to us might carry risks we cannot foresee today. This is why we want to offer a new option for private communication.
Closar is the mailman who respects your privacy of correspondence on the social web.
You should be able to trust the provider. We want you to and we wish for one ourselves. So we want to become one. Legally we will declare at first usage in simple rules that we will at no time collect personal user data in the background to create commercial customer profiles.
There is a certain period of time that we need to keep data. One reason is technical: to give you a mint sharing experience. Another reason is the period the law needs us to keep the data. This happens to all our protection. Once this time has run out there is no need for us to use you data any further. It is more about the perspective than the exact timespan or technology. Closar's aim is not to create personal usage profiles in the backround. Our goal is - as mentioned - to respect your privacy of correspondence as a service. Or in one sentence:
„We erase what you erase.“
It is pretty obvious that actual dominant online services do not sell their users privacy for fun.
They just did not have a working revenue model in the beginning.
We want to learn from that mistake. In 2012 there are different ways out there to pay the bills and push development without selling out the users private data.
Like many other developers we plan to cover our development and running costs through a marginal app price once Closar has spread. We believe that users in the future will prefer to support us this way other than being told it is all for free but in reality being charged far higher with the loss of their privacy.
Meanwhile we will work on additional functions that certainly not every user will need, but some might love. Those on top features can be sold as an - again - marginal In-App-Purchase in the future. We cannot reveal all the details. Just one function in planning: a fun and easy tool to make group decision on how to spend the evening, the next weekend or on which birthday present to buy. More features will be revealed when they are ready.
Why should you support this project?
How is this new?
There already are different projects and services pointing in our direction. Facebook Groups is one. Yet these Groups are still linked to a central profile, which Closar doesn‘t need. We hope you already learned what we mean by this difference. The Closar mode is more of a group messenger running on phones, mac and pc.
Diaspora on the other hand are our brothers in mind considering the possession of data.
In a perfect world we would love you to use Diaspora or Facebook to spread word to a lot of friends and relatives choosing „aspects“ or “groups” to channel your "shouting".
For the spontaneous and very private texting and sharing on the sofa or through half the world with very few good friends we hope to offer a parallel way - like you use SMS today.
We like the idea of Closar being founded by the users. That way we can prove that there is a real interest in the idea of respecting the users privacy.
Once you have given this proof, we hope to establish a new way of communicating. With your support and believe we will find investors for the future that share and respect our vision of your privacy. Guaranteed by our initial agreement with every user.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
Reaching our full founding goals we create a chance for us to work 6 months straight on the development of Closar - without distraction from other jobs and the time-eating that comes with them.
It is gonna be a long way from the first interface mock-ups, layouts and code-lines to fully working and snappy public beta versions on all platforms. And we are willing to walk it till the end.
First and most important thing you learn from running start-ups 1.01s is to ensure a realistic minimum coverage for cost of living for the core team. But there are further costs we need to take care of to work professionally:
To have a neutral and professional workspace we will move into the Betahaus Cologne (http://koeln.betahaus.de/). It gives us the opportunity to save money and have an environment full of inspiring talents at the same time.
Since the development for different operating systems - both mobile and stationary - can get complex at one point or another, we decided to save another part of the budget to get additional support from our networks if needed. We regard this as being the most responsible and realistic thing to do.
Another point is the assurance of the treatment of your data. To bring this on a legal and yet understandable level we will get some advise.
Who are the people behind the project?
Closar is a project developed and lead by university graduates from Cologne, Mainz and Bonn (Germany). We are supported and advised by arrived web developers such as Christoph Kolb (Founder & CCO of www.widjet.de).
Our motivation is to try and create an area of privacy on the web and to
make digital sharing as intuitive and easy as possible.
Questions, feedback, cake? Contact us: