Between high-speed internet and WiFi cameras, our homes are better connected than ever - but what about our neighborhoods? Here are some apps to connect you to the people that live closest to you.
Think about your home. Do you know the neighbor to your left? How about to the right? Go down a few doors, do you know them?
Facebook is great for connecting us with our friends, but when it comes to strangers, a new breed of apps are helping to link us up. Not for dating, but to be better neighbors. The apps can help us sell our unwanted stuff, get recommendations for services and alert neighbors to break-ins and other nearby crimes.
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Nextdoor is a social network for your neighborhood. Your posts are seen by nearby neighbors, or you can expand your reach out a bit further.
Popular categories include recommendations, items for sale, events and crime.
"Everything from sort of commerce-related things, service providers, to alerts and information from neighbors, to local official and agencies posting relevant information into the neighborhood as well," explained Steve Wymer, Vice President, Communications & Policy at Nextdoor over a Skype interview.
Nextdoor does it's best to verify that users live in the neighborhood that they sign up for and urges folks to use their real names and addresses.
"We believe that by using your real name and having a verified address, it helps people be their best self online," said Wymer.
No doubt you've seen lots of Ring video doorbells in your neighborhood, now the company is giving people a way to put the videos they're collecting to good use. A new feature inside their app is called Ring Neighborhoods - it lets create posts with text, but they can also include screenshots from their video doorbells or even videos.
"At Ring, our mission is to reduce crime in neighborhoods, and we’ve done that through our Ring video doorbell, our Ring floodlight cam and our other products," said Jamie Siminoff, CEO and founder of Ring.
You don't even have to have a Ring product to use the Neighborhoods feature in their app. Anyone can sign up and set a radius around their home to see what's happening nearby.
"Maybe [there's] someone suspicious around the neighborhood and now you’re alert of it, aware of it and can assist with other neighbors about making the neighborhood safer," explained Siminoff.
Keep in mind, while lots of folks are sharing photos and videos captured by their Ring cams, privacy is a top priority - nothing is shared automatically.
"We’ve actually had some success stories off of it where we’ve actually caught people using the neighborhood app. It's a very positive way for neighbors to come together around something that really matters which is making neighborhoods safer," said Siminoff.