If you're one of those people who likes to flip through pictures of last night to piece together what exactly happened after your, um, several-th shot of whiskey, then Sobrr, the app that deletes all your photos, messages, and any and all evidence of the debauchery, is probably not for you. However, if all you want to do after last night is forget it ever happened, then you might want to join the 10,000 people who have downloaded what I like to call Snapchat on Steroids.
The concept is simple — some memories are made to be forgotten, and with the advent of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that are meant to document, well, everything, they sometimes seem hard to forget. But with Sobrr, this is no longer the case.
Everything in this new, handy dandy app has a 24-hour expiration date. Any messages sent, any photos posted, even any friends made, will all be gone by break of day (assuming, that is, that you began your partying at break of day, yesterday). The whole purpose of Sobrr, founder Bruce Yang says, is to allow its users to "live life in the moment." Because what is less about living life in the moment than an undying photograph.
Yang came up with the ingenious idea after a rather (un)forgettable bachelor party in Sin City. Unfortunately for Yang, his sins were broadcast all over the Internet, and in the hours after the last bit of fun had subsided, he found himself in a stressful situation — doing damage control by systematically erasing all photographic proof of the night before.
Of course Yang, by deleting these gems, was already one step ahead of many of us, who remain blissfully unaware (or unperturbed, perhaps), by the proof of some of our least elegant moments, leaving them for the rest of the world to find. But if you want the best of both worlds — giving your friends just enough to make them jealous of the great time you're having but not enough for them to use it against you by, quite literally, shoving pictures of it in your face at a later, more vulnerable time — Sobrr is your new best friend.
The app is very much dependent on geolocation, which happens to be the same somewhat creepy technology that I Know Where Your Cat Lives uses to find your felines (and the rest of your family). The idea is to take the 500 users closest to your determined location and show you pictures that you can then choose to "cheer," "pass," or "delete."
Like Tinder, a swipe to the right is a "cheer," indicating approval of the photo. Similarly, a left swipe is a "pass," and swiping down deletes the photo (although I'm not entirely sure what the difference between a pass and a delete is). Users can see how many people have viewed, commented on, or cheered a photo, as well as its relative location.
A beta version of the app was first released in early July to an eager audience of 200. Since then, it has burgeoned, now boasting around 10,000 users. Unfortunately for me, when I downloaded the app, I found that very, very few of its users were in New York or even on the east coast of the U.S. — in fact, I only found one person within 100 miles of me. The next closest user was more than 2,000 miles removed from Manhattan.
Even more confusing for me were the types of photos I found — in the approximately 50 photos I've managed to swipe through, I've found nothing incriminating or embarrassing. Really, these are all photos I'd be happy to show my grandmother (though granted, she'd still be a bit confused by them).
There is the occasional photo of a drink, but more often, the pictures are just . . . strange. My personal favorite thus far is a photo of an owl catching a mouse — it has 11 views and one cheer. There is also a very pleasant picture of Croatia, as well as a rather adorable photo of a boy at a fast food chain.
And then there is this, a picture of what I can only assume is homework and a laptop.
Sobrr's Facebook page lists its headquarters in Emeryville, California, but it seems that the majority of its users are actually located in China. At least, that is what its mileage count suggests to me. But with Yang's recent $1-million IDG Ventures backing, Sobrr may be making its way across the ocean.
Well, that's what Yang hopes it will do. While the barely month-old app hasn't exactly figured out monetization yet, Yang plans on having restaurants and bars use Sobrr to offer flash sales and coupon codes that will incentivize customers to come in on a specific day — after all, these deals would only exist for 24 hours.
But until then, all Yang is trying to do is help us have some fun. As he told Re/Code, "Sobrr is the morning after pill after a night of craziness, we want to help people stay sober online, while they have all kinds of craziness offline."
Images: Sobrr/Youtube; Sobrr