Rando offers an anonymous twist on social photo sharing

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Rando is a social photo sharing app with a rather clever twist. Rather than sharing photos publicly, Rando will share a photo with just a single person... and that person is anonymous. For every rando (photo) that you share, you'll receive a random rando in return. While the sending an receiving process is total anonymous and random location information can optionally be included, meaning that you can see where your sent rando "lands", and where any received randos were taken.

The one to one ratio for sending and receiving randos is a clever move on the part of developer us two, as it encourages you to send photos, and provides a near instant reward. There are enough users of the service that you should receive a new rando just moments after you send one. 

Rando also avoids all of the other elements associated with social photo sharing. As you might expect, given the premise of the app, there's no liking, sharing or commenting in the Rando app. 

Rando also uses some distinctive design choices to further stand out. All photos are framed in a circle, reinforcing the idea of a random peep hole into another part of the world. Shared randos must also be taken within the app, which means it's not possible to choose your favourite photo from your camera roll, but this does perhaps add a sense of immediacy. The UI and the experience of the app is non-standard, but is the same across all the platforms that the app has launched on, and, similar to the capture in app only design decision, feels like it fits in with the philosophy of the app.


The obvious question is, what's the point? The app is self described as an "experimental photo exchange platform" and it's clear the developers are interested in what happen when the strait-jacket concepts of traditional social photo sharing are removed. It also reasonable to assume that the app is intended to act as an example of ustwo's innovative thinking and UI design, but that doesn't stop it being an intriguing idea.

Rando was made available on iOS early this year and at the end of May more than 7 million randos had been shared. That suggests there is an appetite for anonymous photo sharing and there's definitely an addictive element to Rando. At first the experience feels a bit too disconnected, but as you receive more randos, there's an increasing push to send "just one more" rando in order to see what random photo arrives on your phone next.

As an anonymous service Rando is potentially open to abuse, but there is a built-in reporting function, and those misusing the service (sending "bad" randos) will be banned. Our experience suggests that while you can expect to receive some blurry-cam shots, a surprisingly high percentage of randos are of decent quality and/or have a subject that will give some pause for thought.

If you're a frequent photo sharing, or the like the idea of anonymous photo exchange, then Rando is definitely a worthy download for any Windows Phone device. 

Windows Phone Store description:

Rando is an experimental photo exchange platform. 

Give, receive and collect unique photos from random people from all over the world. A rando must be sent for one to be received. It's about gifting rather than sharing. You will never know who received the rando, they will never know who sent it. You will know the location of where it landed, the receiver will know where in the world it was taken.

Build your rando collection with unique cultural sights from around the world.  We deliberately haven’t incorporated social features into the application.  No likes, no comments, no direct communication. 

Rando is a free download from the Windows Phone Store.