These days we are inundated with social networking apps, dating apps, and apps for pretty much any kind of communication medium we could possibly imagine (except for an app that communicates telepathically…but I assume someone's working on that). We have so many options available to us, but a lot of them are noisy (I'm looking at you Facebook), superficial, or even bordering on creepy (*cough* happn *cough*).
Danish icebreaker app Plane has eliminated all of the noise and presents a simple, authentic, and slightly retro interface through which people can connect.
Plane was the brainchild of Tim Allison, the ex-CEO of Cupple (a social app that helps couples keep in touch better). He traveled a lot for work and found it hard to connect with people in new cities.
“Whilst working and commuting in and out of Switzerland in 2014 I found myself very short on options to connect with new people and find out what's going on in the city,” said Allison in a statement. “I don't want to use dating apps to meet likeminded people, and Facebook Groups aren't the right place to try and break the ice. We need a social situation without the awkward or superficial approach.”
With Plane, users create a very simple profile by uploading a photo and answering a couple fill-in-the-blank questions about who they are and what they enjoy. When they're in a new city they can send out a “Signal” which communicates to other users what they are looking for (shows in town, restaurant recommendations, someone to workout with, etc.) The signals disappear after 24hrs to keep the experience ‘in the moment.'
Once a signal receives a response, a private chat can take place. If two people decide they want to learn more about each other or meet up, they can exchange customizable social cards that can be integrated with traditional social networks like Facebook or Instagram.
The app has been in beta in several cities in Scandinavia for a couple months and has been mostly adopted by expats and business travelers.
Plane is available for free from the Apple App Store on iPhone and iPod Touch. An Android version is coming soon.
Here's a short video that illustrates how Plane works.