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Private Customized Social Networks

Published 08/06/2012 and rated Ratingstars5 5 out of 5 stars
by Carmen Rane Hudson
What can you use the app for?

Glassboard is a social network that is 100% private. Users can invite other users and create customized groups. Though originally created for business, it’s an equally strong application for sharing family photos and news. Glassboard doesn’t participate in data mining or sell any kind of advertising, so each person’s information stays 100% private to whomever they’ve shared with. This means a user could share a document with his workgroup and share that embarrassing drunken photo with his buddy group without the two groups ever overlapping, seeing one another’s posts, or even knowing the other group exists, unless there are members who are in both groups. Glassboard solves the problem of users who want to communicate through social networks without sharing everything about themselves with the world at large.

Glassboard screenshot
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What is the history and popularity of the app?

Glassboard was founded in 2010 by Brent Simmons and Nick Bradbury. Its initial launch had many problems, leading to an update in 2012. Glassboard has garnered a small following and a bit of buzz; it will be interesting to see whether or not its popularity increases after it has had more time to mature.

What are the differences to other apps?

Glassboard is coming head to head with social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The private board concept seems to be a little like Google+ circles. However, the idea is that the boards are all absolutely private, something no major social media company offers to their customers. This is because the user is the customer on Glassboard, something that is absolutely not true for the major social media giants.

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How does the web app look and feel to use?

Glassboard is simple and attractive to use. Users get up to 10 boards until other users accept their invitations. 10 is more than enough to allow for a friends, family, work, and perhaps a special group board, however. Using it is like using Facebook with all of the bells and whistles stripped away. Users don’t even have to share a profile picture if they don’t want to, offering the maximum level of privacy. The site runs very quickly and the lack of busyness is a nice change. Glassboard also offers the ability to set “quiet hours” during which users won’t be disturbed.

How does the registration process work?

Users add their name, e-mail address, and password. Glassboard does send a confirmation e-mail: one assumes this is to further protect the user’s privacy. It’s all over very quickly and does not feel terribly invasive.

What does it cost to use the application?

The application is totally free. Glassboard indicates that it plans on staying free. There are no advertisements. It’s unclear whether or how Glassboard intends to monetize the site.

Who would you recommend the application to?

Social media addicts who primarily wish to interact with family members and friends without broadcasting their life to the rest of the world, and who are concerned about privacy, will love Glassboard. Glassboard will allow these users to microblog and stay in touch without having to sacrifice privacy completely. Before, the choices were “sacrifice your privacy” or “don’t use social media.” Glassboard’s happy medium strategy may well be the answer that many people have been looking for, especially in an age where some employers believe it is appropriate to ask for Facebook usernames and passwords.

  • Users can create totally private sharing groups for photos and documents.
  • Glassboard doesn't participate in data mining.
  • Glassboard doesn't sell advertising of any kind.

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