Glassboard, an iPhone application from Sepia Labs, is everything that Facebook or Twitter is not. The only similarity is that like Facebook and Twitter, Glassboard is a social media tool. The main idea behind Glassboard is privacy. While Facebook and Twitter are configured to host frantic socializing which many times can breach privacy, Glassboard users are assured of their information not getting exposed to unwanted people. The main features of Glassboard are:
The concept of glassboard
Think of a board as a club or a community with one or more goals or themes. The club has someone who presides over it. The discussions and information shared in the club are confined within the club and only the club members are privy to the information shared. Only a board member can invite someone else to join the board. Glassboard can have multiple boards but interestingly, a board would not know the existence of other boards and vice versa. This is contrary to the arrangement in Facebook or Orkut where you can search and find communities.
Facebook requires you to have a Facebook account to be eligible for a friend request. Glassboard requires you to just have an e-mail ID to join in. A board member can send you an invitation on your e-mail and you need to accept the invitation to join.
Emphasis on privacy
This is what sets Glassboard apart. Though board members can share images, links, videos, updates and other information, the sharing happens only within a board. No one else can view the information shared, even if they belong to other boards. Search engines cannot index boards in their searches and therefore, you cannot find board names through Google or any other search engine. Even within Glassboard, there is no feature which enables you to search for specific groups.
A specific board member get to know what is happening in the board. A board member receives a notification on iPhone whenever another member posts or shares something or a new member joins the board. You can either receive push or e-mail notifications. You can also set a specific time span during which the notifications will be muted. This way, you would not be disturbed by incessant pinging alerts when you are sleeping.
Clearly, privacy is the main unique selling point of Glassboard and many are going to like it, especially in the context of online privacy breaches. However, Glassboard still has a lot of challenges and user acceptance is one of them. Powerful social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have already swept users off their feet and Glassboard has a lot of work to do on this front. Google+ also offers privacy in the form of Circles and Huddles. Another user-adoption challenge could be the absence of web interface. It will be interesting to see how Glassboard takes on the social media market.