Let’s say you’re in a serious relationship, but you work all the time and you’re long-distance. How do you stay close to the other person? I’ve personally had this situation for the last year and a half. My girlfriend and I use Skype, email, our phones, Facebook, and everything else we can to stay connected. We’ve even been using Instagram as a two-person social network to share photos about what we’re up to each day.
But now there’s an app to solve this exact problem. It’s called Pair, and it’s packed with the features you see in private social networks like Path, but designed for two people.
The interface starts out deceptively simple. You start by taking a photo of yourself, and then shooting a quick video on your phone (iOS only for now), that you send with the invite to your significant other.
Once they “pair” with you, you’ll be put into the app together. The interface is organized like text messages. You appear on the left, your partner on the right. But you’ll get an impressive range of options for how to stay in touch. There’s simple messaging, videos and photos (complete with the option to touch them up in Camera+). But there’s also a “thinking of you” button, which is a simple notification that’s most similar to Facebook’s classic Poke.
And, there’s a draw feature. So you can scribble all the silly pictures and sweet little ditties that you want.
The Y Combinator-backed company also provides a bunch of other smart and subtle features. A button at the top lets you turn on Facetime with a single swipe. A feature called “thumbkissing” shows your partners thumbprints whenever they’re touching the screen, and both phones will vibrate if your thumbs are on the same place. You can also create shared to-do lists and set reminders for birthdays and anniversaries. A Moments section contains all your shared photos.
The main downsides, at least in the opinion of my girlfriend, are the following: you can’t unselect photos, you can’t create captions, the text from multiple messages gets “mushed together” and makes you “look like a babbling loon.” And that’s not all, in her opinion (at this point I’m just transcribing the rants that she left for me in the app).
“The search feature is nice. But would be way more useful if they enabled photo captions. Who the fuck searches for text blurbs? If I used search, it’d probably be to locate a photo. And if I’m using an app called Pair with one other person, isn’t it implied that I’m thinking of that person? Otherwise, why wouldn’t I be posting my brilliance to Facebook?”
Maybe she needs to start blogging about tech startups or something. And cofounder Oleg Kostour tells me that they’re aware of these issues and working on them. But it doesn’t matter. Because despite all her complaints, this app is way better than our kludged Instagram setup and Skype and everything else. Get used to it, honey!