Secret, the anonymish app du jour that’s enabling iOS users to thrill their own friends and people in their social circles by saying stuff freely, without having their own identity attached to the information they are sharing, is coming to Android in “a few weeks”.
The ETA for the Secret Android app was revealed backstage at TechCrunch Disrupt New York, by the founders David Byttow and Chrys Bader-Wechseler, speaking with TC co-editor Alexia Tsotsis.
“A couple of weeks. Two or three weeks in the best case. We’re working as hard as we can,” said Byttow. “We have such an amazing team working on this.”
Interestingly the Android app will not be a direct clone of iOS, with Byttow noting that it will be used as the testing ground for some new features. That makes sense if you want to experiment without disrupting an existing engaged user-base built up on one mobile platform. It also makes sense to tailor an experience for different user groups — and Android and iOS are two of the biggest distinct user groups in tech right now.
“We’re looking for Android not to be a clone of the iOS version but to actually lead some new features that we’re working on,” said Byttow.
What you don’t see on other social networks is the type of forthcoming and openness and honesty that people are doing on Secret
The pair kept schtum on exactly what new features they have in their pipeline. But in a previous Disrupt interview they hinted that private chat might be on the way.
“We have some new features that we’re working on that are really exciting that we’re not ready to talk to about yet,” they said.
Other than Android, the pair said they are working on expanding the reach of Secret — with that international expansion doubtless fueled by their recent $10 million raise.
Secret launched in its first global markets, including the U.K., last month. “We’re looking at non-English speaking countries, different cultures,” the pair told Tsotsis.
They were also asked again about the problem of anonymity encouraging negativity/bullying — a topic that is likely to follow them wherever they go, as the app gains more users, some of whom will inevitably end up being mean. Hell, that’s just humanity.
Bader-Wechseler argued that the prevailing option about anonymity encouraging people to be meaner than average is a “huge misconception” — claiming that the amount of trolls on anonymous or pseudonymous platforms and identity platforms are “the same”.
“People should focus on all the good things that happen because all this stuff that you see as negative it exists on every social network,” he said. “But what you don’t see on other social networks is the type of forthcoming and openness and honesty that people are doing on Secret, and the conversations that happen around that — and that should be the focus of these conversations. That’s what Secret is changing.”
They argued that the app is actually encouraging people to offer “positive support” to friends in distress.
“We see such an overwhelming amount of [positive support], that people feel like they’re connected to their friends in a very unique and different way, much different than something with identity and then much different than something like [anonymous app] Whisper where you’re talking to a stranger.”
“We hear a lot of stories about people actually meeting offline,” he added. “I think it’s making people’s lives a lot better and richer.”
“People group us together with Yik Yak and Whisper and it’s our job to pull out of that grouping, and be our own class of communication,” added Byttow.