App That Allows Users to Avoid ‘Sketchy’ Areas (Valleywag, Crain’s)

Screenshot from promo page.

Okay, this from Valleywag via Crain’s goes right into the WTF category. The SketchFactor is an app appearing today on iTunes that will allow users to avoid the sketchy areas of a neighborhood and report on sketchy characters.

Here is a cut and paste from the app’s announcement on its website. 

August 7, 2014 – New York, NY. Today, August 8, SketchFactor launches. A first-of-its-kind navigation app, SketchFactor crowdsources walking directions based on users’ experiences on city streets. By showing the sketchiness of an area, SketchFactor takes the guesswork out of city navigation.

Like Sweetch and other app developers who only wanted to do something for the public good by selling public parking spaces (thereby saving the environment the cost of drivers circling for parking), I can imagine these two developers sweetly thinking that it would be oh-so-helpful to steer users away from trouble. Oh yes, let’s make the whole world safe and paranoid.

Really? Maybe its best for some app developers to stay in the suburbs. And where are the guiding lights of tech? Some are giving prizes and encouraging such apps. Come on guys, you can do better.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. Sam

    Interesting that you satirize a “neighborhood watch” app immediately adjacent to one of your regular crime reports which, as ever, show that there are indeed sketchy parts of our neighborhood, and sketchy times of night to be there.

    Maybe the victims of the crimes you regularly report might appreciate this app, and not appreciate being categorized as “paranoid”.

    Shame on you.

  2. SFrentier

    Whot’s it say about da mission? One one hand crime, OTOH kewl ‘strants and $1000 PSF condos. Is there an algorithm for that?

  3. godzuki

    It would be interesting to see what it says about the Mission, for sure. I find that some residents are shockingly uninformed about the area, the gangs, crime, etc.

  4. missionresident

    So small minded this reporter is. Seems like the app is for out of town folks. If you don’t live in SF, you wouldn’t know that the Tenderloin is sketchy. I can see many people that would like this app as they want to walk in the city, but avoid getting mugged or avoid just a dirty area. Or, they just want to walk the route that is the cleanest or has the best architecture. Or the route that has the most food options. This app has many possibilities that the reporter wouldn’t think of as she lacks creativity and the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. I’ve never been to Detroit, but if I had to walk 2 miles through the city, I may choose to look at this app before starting my journey. Especially if I’m some hot young chick that, yes, may be a little paranoid about being harassed.

    • Sam

      One of Lydia’s weaknesses is that she is often tempted to “play to the crowd”. She knows there is a certain hostility among some factions of the readership here towards tech in general, and so she plays for some cheap nods of smug knowing approval by this kind of eyeball-bait and pandering to unthinking prejudice.

      It’s just a little too easy for ML to post yet another piece of whinery about tech shuttles, or home-sharing, or gentrification, or evictions, or take your pick of canned biases.

      To her credit, she gets it right sometimes too, particularly when she takes an unpopular stand, as with the Tech Shuttle art contest, or even her effort today on the Tamale Lady’s landlording struggles.

      But then she falls back with this kind of nonsense. It’s a unfortunate waste.

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