Radar Chat allows users to leave digital messages that are attached to physical world locations. Most messages can only be seen if you're physically close to them which can be used to make scavenger hunts.
My first customers non-profits in the STEM space who are using Radar Chat to tag the businesses they partner with (Planetariums, Science Museums, etc). When students visit these places they can then check into them (if they're close enough) and get entered to win a prize. Here's an example of a STEM customer channel:
Paying customers unlock additional features like permanent messages, always-visible messages, and messages that can be checked in to. Non-paying users are able to leave messages that have a maximum radius and an expiration time.
I do server programming by trade so any feedback on the UX would be greatly appreciated!
Edit: Here's a link to the website with marketing information. It describes the produce a bit more than what's available in this post:
About 10 years ago, I taught myself web programming by writing https://dirtywalls.com which is still up and which occasionally I still see used by a handful of the folks I shared it with back then. Same basic idea: pseudonymous message boards attached to real-world locations, where you must be within a certain proximity to read or post.
The concept at the time was "4chan meets foursquare." and the inspiration was rediscovering some graffiti in a bar bathroom that years before had particularly tickled some friends and I. For awhile, I added new locations as I traveled extensively for work, so there are hidden little message boards around NYC, SF, China, Seattle, Europe...
Threaded replies is actually the biggest feature on our roadmap!
I do love the idea of "hidden messages", invisible communities that only a few will ever see.
Lots of possibilities, for sure. I liked the idea of a public layer as well as private or protected layers for every space. Patrons of a restaurant could chat on the public board for that location, while employees might bitch anonymously about management or warn each other of problematic customers on the private space. Or residents of an apartment building could complain about noisy neighbors or neglecting landlords without it being completely public.
Edit: But with Tosslet you don't need to (get to?) have an account to see (catch) messages or provide any other information (e.g. email). We have a privacy-first focus and don't require or allow the use of your actual location (gps).
Disclaimer: I'm the developer of Tosslet
I like your monetization strategy and how it combats spam!
To the newly created [dead] account that I can't respond to, you are correct that typical usage would be to download the app, however, there is a Start Exploring webpage that you can search on to just see messages without the app: https://www.tosslet.com/Home/StartExploring
In Israel there is an app called "Pillar of cloud" (עמוד ענן) which is somewhat similar.
It's invaluable for hiking and exploring places. I guess it is moderated however, since I never saw spam there.
Just looked it up, "עמוד ענן" seems pretty cool for trail hikes!
I do hope people use Radar Chat for hiking as well. They could put down markers for trail heads and stuff. But, the biggest differentiator with Radar Chat is that they can put down timely information, such as a tree being down, a trail being washed out, etc.
Mate, I live an hour and half from Antarctica, I'm never going to see a message hahaha
I also limit the Longitude to +85 / -85, so there's even a technical limitation around your area!
Where do you live?
This is really well done, I like the UX and the messaging categories. I also like how you allow creating an account with just an email and the received auth code. Also very refreshing to try something as a web app and not have to install anything just to try it.
It might be cool to show a rough estimate of how many people are able to hear your messages? I tried shouting to my entire city but I noticed the global channel had around 78 subscribers, so I figured it was unlikely that anyone heard my message.
It would also be great at this stage to let you see a history of messages received in your location while you were away.
Also maybe let people send or at least listen to messages anywhere in the world, at this early stage? I'd love to see if anyone in my hometown is using this, but I don't live there anymore. Maybe you could set up a limited number of spots that you always get messages for? Say your home, work, etc.
Awesome job! Looking forward to updates. (If you have an RSS feed or something then I'd love to subscribe to it).
Probably this is way outside the scope of what you are doing now, but some sort of augmented reality phone viewer for these messages would be super neat and really emphasis the physicality (sort of like in the game Dark Souls, haha).
Just imagine spraying virtual graffiti on a building!
That would be fun. And socially responsible, no real world cleanup.
One thing that made the game system work though, I think, was that they gave a very limited selection of phrases to combine. So you'd have a list of descriptions (dangerous, look out for, incredible, safe) and things (chest, monster, door, room). So people could put something like "look out for monster" to indicate an ambush, or "dangerous chest" to indicate a loot-chest that is trapped. Limited vocabulary mostly* kept the unpleasant** trolling to a minimum
* people would occasionally put "incredible chest" in front of female NPCs, which was not the intended use of the messaging feature!
** leaving an "safe room" message in front of a trapped corridor full of monsters was, of course, entirely in the spirit of the game.
That would have been fun back in the early days of the internet, before commerce and trolls ruined it. I'm not willing to trust my location information like that any more. I'm both sorry and sad.
The internet certainly isn't what it used to be.
How do you plan to remove or flag false information ? Like for example someone intentionally leave message which is not true or causes harm ?
I'll add a button to messages to flag/report them in the upcoming weeks.
For individual channels the goal is to allow administrators to moderate them, kinda like with Reddit.
For global channels it'll probably end up being me doing all the moderation until I can hire someone to do it.
I also plan on importing Open Street Map data on school properties and then preventing most users from being able to post messages within such boundaries.
Interesting idea! I'm wondering if this would also work in higher dimensional spaces, like embeddings. Or is this just social media? :D
It actually wasn't until about 4 years in to working on this that someone told me "it's basically social media". Certainly that wasn't my goal when I set out!
My early customers have channels that only administrators can write to so the paying use-cases aren't as social media.
I do hope to open the service up for more use cases outside of mobile apps. For example, it would be pretty cool if my customers could embed their maps on their website via iframe.
The #sf-311 channel retrieves data from an external API, and so posting already isn't limited to the app (the data is all proximity based so you can't see incidents unless you're nearby):
You're right, there are some similarities! The biggest visual difference is the lack of a map on Jodel. The dynamic message size is something we've been considering adding as well. Maybe they calculate it based on neighboring messages; we were thinking of using a population density API.
I like how the longer the range, the shorter the persistence. It should keep messages relevant.
Is there any spam control in place?
I'm glad you noticed! The idea behind the inverse radius and duration relationship was that each specific message might only be seen by, say, 100 people. Certainly hoping this reduces spammy messages.
Be careful using this for things like prizes, as people will use tools that allow them to spoof locations to see the messages in that area.
Absolutely, geo-spoofing is going to be one of the biggest enemies for this product.
I will say though that my early customers are giving away prizes that are only useful to locals, like coupons to offline stores, so I'm hoping that'll keep most cheaters at bay.
Doesn't appear to work on Firefox at all.
You have to click the Firefox Hamburger menu, then "install app" (to create a launcher). Then it seems to work correctly.
I was also a bit confused because the home page buttons theming seems broken, and I had not read the instructions.
Firefox is my main browser! What issues are you having?
If you've disabled geolocation access then Radar Chat is basically dead in the water.
you don't fall back to geoip?
Once I get some revenue I'll purchase a subscription to a geoip service.
That said, we can only really use it to show a vague position for the user. Since everything is so precise (some message can only be seen if you're within 10m of them) the geoip data isn't as useful as one might think.
@tlhunter Are you a pirate who likes a good treasure hunt? Nice!
I was only able to find a few direct competitors in my searches. They were mostly shut down with their apps no longer in the app stores.
Ah like YikYak, but more precise locations.
My friend mentioned YikYak as a potential competitor to me several months ago. I tried to install their app but I think they had taken it down for a few months.
Fast forward and YikYak does have some similarities. The main differences are that YikYak has a universal 5 mile radius, all messages are in the same "namespace", and they're anonymous, plus no map. I'm sure they anonymize the posting location with jitter to promote anonymity.
Radar Chat definitely caters to a different use-case with the precision of the post being important. If you leave a "whisper" message (L1), it has a radius of around 10 meters, which isn't as useful for shouting ideas to the masses like YikYak.
And all the problems, like bomb threats dropped near schools via spoofed GPS locations.
Moderation is needed for any communication platform.
Flag all keywords you would need to do a bomb threat for review.
Preferably have a client side filter, like profanity, so users can customize to their liking and you aren't censoring too heavily.
Some server side filtering for illegal messages like threats.
Open mod logs for even more transparency.
YikYak found out how immensely difficult that is. So have Facebook and Twitter, despite billions of dollars to throw at such problems.
"We thought it was the perfect solution, until we set our first 14-year old boy down in front of it. Within minutes he’d created the following sentence: I want to stick my long-necked Giraffe up your fluffy white bunny. "
Does it really matter if messages like that get through?
Client side AI filters can attempt to get rid of raunchy messages.
Keyword filters and flagging for things like threats can stop the illegal stuff.
Don't try to over censor and nanny state people.
edit: to clarify, messages "like that" refer to the kid's message in your above post.
> Does it really matter if messages like that get through?
When they're veiled bomb threats against schools, yes. That gets media and regulatory attention that kills the brand - again, as YikYak quickly found out.
> Keyword filters and flagging for things like threats can stop the illegal stuff.
Again, the idea that keyword filters can handle this is silly. It was silly a decade ago. The big social networks have invested enormous time, money, and effort into increasingly sophisticated AI... and the result is people still get incorrectly and absurdly flagged for innocuous posts while clearly offending ones slip through.
Cool concept, but the UI is terrible on desktop.
Oh yeah, it's pretty bad. We'll throw in media queries at some point to make it a large map with a list of messages beside it.
Radar Chat is almost entirely useless on desktop since it's rare that they have high resolution GPS, but there are some use cases. The main one is that when a user first visits certain channels there is a default origin location, particularly useful when showing "beacon" messages that the user can see regardless of distance. Here's an example: