While most startups are focused on allowing users to share information as frictionless as possible, Neko.io is taking the opposite approach. The new service by Meontrust Inc. allows users to post on their friends’ walls, blogs, and anywhere else in a scrambled web link. To be able to read the link, you need to be “friends” with the Neko.io user who originally posted the link, and have a Neko.io account of your own. Clicking on the link takes you to the Neko.io website where it unscrambles the link– allowing you to communicate with your friends in a public forum, but still limit your privacy to a much smaller audience. In this sense, it’s a much more “frictional” way of sharing, but allows you to still use the services where your friends are already present.
Meontrust Inc. is also the creator of Arctic15 finalist Mepin, a iPhone app and USB stick that signs you into web services using a pin generated on supported websites. To use the Neko.io service, you’re required to sign in with Mepin, but luckily it’s a free app for all those who are interested. You could say that Neko.io is a Mepin showcase project, but it’s also a handy product that can stand on its own feet.
To protect your privacy Neko.io does not ask your name, e-mail or any other personal information – not even a username and password. And Neko.io is neither saving nor storing your messages in itself. Instead, the messages are stored at whichever service or system you post the scrambled link to.
Despite this security, you probably shouldn’t use Neko.io to set up large drug shipments or trade nuclear arm secrets. Co-creator Marku Mehtälä suggests these following use cases:
a) You are tired after work and just want to rant to your friends how stupid your boss is and how shite the whole company is. With Neko.io you can share that frustration with your trusted friends without getting fired by mocking your employer publicly.
b) You want to invite your friends to a party at your place. With Neko.io you can share the time, location and other party information without thousands of people getting the same info and showing up at your place.
c) You are having time of your life and partying all night longs. With Neko.io you can share the moments with your friends without being profiled and indexed as a drinker forever.
I really like this way of circumventing problems with privacy in social media. Rather than building your own new social media service, it makes much more sense to inject your own privacy features into anything and everything. Lets see if a service like this can gain momentum.