Highlight: The app making users comfortable with strangers


The popular app Highlight released its latest version Thursday. It is going to dominate and surprise everybody in this year’s SXSW music, film and interactive media festival in Austin, Texas.

Highlight is a part of new category of apps called “ambient social networking,” Businessweek reported. Its main feature: making users more familiar with their environment, especially the people around them.

The new genre of people discovery services is right around the corner, Highlight’s creator, Paul Davison, told Businessweek.

“I’m completely convinced that in five or 10 years you’ll be able to walk into a room and know everyone’s name, where everyone works, and what people you know in common,” he said.


For example, when logging into your Facebook account and activating the GPS, you can see who is in the same area with you, including people you don’t know. Using Highlight, you can view things they want to share via the app, such as their backgrounds or habits.

For some, Highlight makes the dream come true – they can know more about others around while jogging in the park, at parties, or at conferences without the embarrassing “I can’t remember his name” moment. The new version of Highlight also gives users a way of “Hightlighting” people; press the “Highlight” button on the person you are interested in, which is a way to publicly bookmark people.

But Highlight isn’t a relationship builder; it’s an information provider, Davison said in a separate interview.

“There’s no friend model, there’s no way to remember people, there’s no social currency, and that’s really weird for a social app,” he told VentureBeat. “But it makes sense because it’s not an app to stay in touch with each other.”

Highlight is still only available for iOS, and has been known to drain batteries. However, users can pause the app to save battery power or to halt the app when they are getting too many notifications. “This one is going to be a hit at South by Southwest this weekend,” Eric Eldon wrote for TechCrunch.

Image: Highlight
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