Rando Android

Sending an receiving anonymous pictures from random people across the world - how bad could that possibly be?

It's completely possible, I suppose, that your experience with Rando will be completely different than mine. After all, this is an Android app that delivers random pictures that someone took in exchange for some of your own. Give a random picture, get a picture.

And it's completely reasonable to predict that a photo-sharing service such as this, in which the sender is as anonymous as the receiver, would quickly be inundated by random acts of nudity. (And, face it, that's hardly the worst thing that I've imagined could anonymously show up on my screen.)

But, no. I've not been bombarded by anonymous body parts. Or any kind of parts. Or anything remotely interesting, actually.

The basic premise of Rando is simple enough. Sign up for an account with the app (it doesn't use Google login or Facebook or anything, at least at the time of this writing), and then take a picture with Rando. You can't upload pictures you've already snapped, guaranteeing more of a "live" thing. Your picture is anonymously sent to someone you don't know. OK, it's not 100 percent anonymous -- Rando sends your city and country to person randomly selected to receive your picture. And in return, you get a picture from a similarly anonymous Rando user. Tap a picture you've received to see where that person's located. 


But after a few days, a couple things have become clear. This is nowhere as interesting a service as Instagram, which has some spectacular photography. And it's nowhere near as frightening as Chatroulette, which has seemingly nonstop naked, and not in a good way. With Rando, though, I've received maybe two pictures that you could consider possibly offensive in any way. One you see at the top of this post, imploring "ladies" to "get naked." (Whomever sent that one should at least get points for using proper punctuation.) The other I've seen could well have been an accidental picture, with the shutter being hit just as the camera aimed crotchward. Or perhaps this was my best shot at seeing someone's junk. Either way, fail.

(It's worth mentioning at this point -- and in all seriousness -- that it's against Rando's terms of service to "submit images which are defamatory, threatening or likely to harass, racially or ethnically offensive, pornographic, obscene or which might encourage violent or criminal conduct or which are otherwise inappropriate." It's also worth reading over Rando's privacy policy to see what it is they can and can't do with your pictures, and how the app handles your anonymity.)

But along with a (welcome) dearth of nudity has a basic lack of interesting pictures. Maybe this is my fault, though. Maybe there's some sort of Rando karma. The quality of the pictures I've received is about as poor as what I've sent. Almost like everyone's sending in crap, hoping to get a bit of skin in return. Maybe that's just made up in my head, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if it's pretty close to the truth. Or maybe everyone's still just toeing the waters.

Or perhaps anonymity -- one of Rando's core features -- is hurting here. If I post the most spectacular photo ever seen in human history -- nobody will know I took it. So I have no incentive to take a good picture and share it on Rando.

So, yeah. Rando's not the devil. But neither is it a photo service that's going to be on my phone any longer.

There are 23 comments

MC_A_DOT says:

Snapchat FTW

I disagree with you, Phil. I think the whole point of Rando is that it's about sharing a snapshot of the mundane lives we lead. It's not glorified, filtered, over-processed gorgeousness, nor is it unadulterated porn... it's just a way of connecting, randomly and anonymously, with one of the other 7 billion people on this planet and seeing a snapshot of their normal, unprocessed, un-glorified, unplanned lives. I think it's wonderful for that. Don't approach it expecting to be thrilled or titilated. Approach it expecting to be reminded of how normal we all are.

jonmall says:

Totally agree with this comment.

joe23521 says:

Very well put, sir.

You are correct. It is very good at showing me boring, normal pictures from random people, I suppose. :)

ryanparedez says:

Awesome response. I think the photos will get better as people become accustomed to using it. It's something new and I think they are testing the waters.

I've sent a few photos and have got shit in return, I will admit that. I think the app needs to work to take better photos that don't get smashed in with the circle frame.

With a few updates and as people start using it more I think the quality of the sharing will improve. That is my opinion!

That was my point, though. With everything being anonymous, what incentive do I have to take better pictures? Just out of the kindness of my heart? 'Cause that's crazy talk. :p

mao mao says:

Deidara vs. Sasori. Anyone?

I totally agree with your comment and I TOTALLY DISAGREE with this article.

I'm intrigued. I will give it a shot.

impulse101 says:

Phil, you are a buzzkill today. Its just a fun app to play around with once in a while and you obviously never got one of my Rando's which are 100% amazing. Its fun to see what people will send and where it comes from. Yes a lot are boring but some are interesting!

lol. Hey, read the first sentence again. Could be that I'm just completely unlucky and have only gotten boring pictures. :)

XavierMatt says:

I wanna try it.

codiusprime says:

I'm enjoying it throughly, I don't think it's trying to compete with Instagram. If I see something interesting I snap a picture and get a small reward. I'm treating it almost like a game. I can see your side of it though.

danperde says:

The first picture of which you show the location is taken in Cluj, Romania, my hometown. Random enough to make me wanna try it. :)

Cool! That probably was my favorite part, actually. The pictures might have underwhelmed, but seeing them come in from all over the world was pretty neat.

oflife says:

Completely disagree! 1. The interest level of the pictures, just like Flickr, Instagram or other is up to the sender/taker, and has NOTHING to do with the service itself. 2. Unlike all other social media, Flickr excepted, being it has held it's own against the tide of narcism, insults, suicide inducing control it has on the young (see UK news yesterday regarding young mother) etc, and is all about appreciating the moment. No gossip, Voyeurism or other. It seems to me, you want controversy. Something bad, or rude? I have had Rando two days and love it because as well as the lack of aforementioned flaws, well, because of the lack of, there is NO negative side. I don't worry about an insult, negative comment, 'dislike', hate or even any feeling of envy. It's fun and makes you appreciate every day moments and those of others around the world.

zakth says:

Okay, whose wearing gray slacks and taking pictures of a blackberry from the UK? Just got your Rando....lol

You got me....

glazedfaith says:

Wow, Phil. People are really not digging your writeup. Maybe you should put [opinion] after the title.

MrJedi says:

Decided to try it despite the review. First pic I got was actually really cool. Why do I have a feeling I am going to be "chasing dragon" for the rest of the pics I receive.

leaponover says:

Ugh, so I thought i'd try this. Went outside and took a picture of a fairly cool looking tree outside my school. Well, what did I get back in return? A picture some girl took of her legs while laying in a bed. Her hand is up against one leg. She's probably naked, but I can't be sure. So ridiculous, lol....

Thanks Pittsburgh, you officially suck!

revbradl says:

I saw a review of this app on "Netted by the Webbys" newsletter and decided to give it a try. I also read this review, which almost made me delete the app before signing up. I'm glad I gave it a try... I'm enjoying the randomness! The only downside so far is that the app crashes about every fourth picture. Did anyone get my snap of "The Office Space Box of Flair"? ;)