App Name: Circle
What It Does: Allows you to view information on folks in your immediate and extended network who are nearby you, and message them.
How I most often use it: I’ve only recently downloaded it, but it would seem to have the same use-case as competitors like Highlight and Sonar. It’s for networking and finding interesting people in your proximity.
Has it replaced anything else in your life?: It’s replaced Highlight, which replaced Sonar. While the functionality of each is similar, I found the design of Circle significantly more secure-feeling. Highlight looked and felt spammy to me. Circle feels trustworthy. This distinction is crucial when dealing with out-of-the-blue introductions to people — you have to be willing to trust the vetting source who says they are interesting to you and would probably like to hear from you.
Most pleasing interaction: When you’re browsing people around you, you scroll through them by moving your thumb in a circular motion over the top of a circle. The faces then pop around the circle, with the currently selected person showing up in the large center circle as well. The circle scroll is neat!
How does it compare to the web version?: No web version. Presumably the biggest competitor would be LinkedIn.
Other comments: This type of app still creeps me out a bit (at least in everyday context — I can see the value at events like SXSW), but there are tons of players in the space, a few of which have already had successful exits. A lot of indicators point to there being a future in it, but it all comes down to trust. Circle’s design adds a layer of trust that others in the space don’t have.
Not currently available for Android