Rando for iPhone, iPad review - the gift of sharing photos randomly
Rando from digital design studio ustwo is a unfussy platform for sharing photos via your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices. Unlike Instagram, it's a much more intimate exchange, you take a photo to receive a photo. The more photos you take, the more photos you receive, it's as simple as that. Photos are also exchanged anonymously, apart from the location shown on a map, you have no idea who has sent the image. Regretfully, users can choose to prevent location details being shown with: "Sender did not allow location access," rather spoiling the fun of discovering where in the world your photo has come from. Over time, you can start to tick of destinations mentally, with Moscow currently leading the way, ahead of an impressive array of locations.
Each photo you take from within the app is framed in a circle, and a copy is saved, at a good resolution, to your camera roll complete with frame. Photos you receive in return are shown in a long scrollable list, although there currently appears to be no option to save photos individually. Those images you receive can be easily deleted individually or flagged up if deemed inappropriate or offensive, something we've yet to see. A celebration of simplicity, Rando offers no filters, no lenses, no additional frames, which may frustrate some hoping to tweak and tart up images. You do at least get a chance to retake any image before sending it out into the wild, although we are not sure if a succession of black circles is meant to be a user conceived joke or a glitch.
Rando has lofty aspirations, a platform for photography and photographers, which in reality appears more about capturing the moment, however mundane or cliché, then breaking the mould. Cats, food, shoes, painted fingernails, trees, sky, the weather are all present, hardly experimental or indeed revolutionary, especially when similar images can be found in abundance on Instagram. This isn't a bad thing and as a snapshot of life "out there" Rando is likely a more useful insight into how we live our lives, and record the life around us, than pure photography app.
While the inability to interact or even 'Like' photos from others may deter some, ustwo should be applauded for generating both interest and users in such a short time scale. Despite sending hundreds of photos, sometimes seconds apart, we've yet to experience a backlog or delay in receiving photos back, likely thanks to the use of Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3. Also of note is the beautifully minimalist interface, which is so simple a child, a very small child, could happily use it. It makes using Rando a very spontaneous and even pleasurable experience, one which other developers would learn well from.
Rando from ustwo is an interesting concept and very much a work in progress that promises much but is rather let down by the disappointing quality of many of the images shared, despite a beautiful, tactile user interface. The lack of extras, filters and the like, is both a positive and negative. The addition will likely deter from the pureness and simplicity, yet add a level of creativity clearly lacking.