I finally 'get' Breakit, the Finnish app that came into Helsinki consciousness at last year's Summer of Startups. To be fair, it is a location-based social app, and lord knows those were played out a few years ago. But Breakit isn't social in the sense that they've slapped a Facebook login onto GPS. Instead they've built a photo sharing service built completely around location.
"Location is the relevant information, so if someone takes a picture at your school or work and says something, you might want to know about it," says Sebastian Schroderus, co-founder of Breakit. So pulling up the app, you just get a stream of everything - lunches, teenagers posing, and drunks on the bus. It's kind of cool - it's the culture and people around you, not necessarially your friends, but maybe that girl you've passed nearly every day on your way home.
Their algorithm is based on location, time, and the number of likes or dislikes the photo has gotten. Disliking is something you never see in social apps, but since with Breakit you don't have your own profile - just a username - you see some stuff like dog crap posted that would perhaps only be posted if things were anonymous. So disliking is a useful mechanism.
"On Facebook you might have your mom or your boss, so there are certain things you might not want to put on it. Or there's even certain stuff you don't want to share to your friends because you have some image you want to maintain," says Schroderus.
People from all walks of life seem to be using the app, but so far the most active users that have picked up the app are teenagers. It fits into a logical trend. I thought I grew up in the free and open generation of the internet, but the kids that have grown up with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram don't have the same hangups I do about sharing photos to the open world.
The app is still a little rough around the edges when it comes to the UI, but you can see it's got users and potential. In the future they're going to be adding features like the most liked 'breaks' from around the world, and perhaps private messages.
Anyway I find it a cool app to check and take pictures with, so it's well worth the iPhone download. The weekend is starting about now, so if you see any madness you might as well add it to Breakit.