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Channels - The Social Bulletin Board [APP]

Hey Android Forums, I'd like to introduce you to an app my friend and I have made completely on our own for both Android and iPhone. This is the second iteration of the app which we've now been working on for over a year, and we hope its now useful and loved (or at least not hated) given that its free and was simply made to for users to enjoy (we aren't making any money what so ever in any way off of this).

Download Channels for Android
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What is Channels

Channels is a simple way to create posts about any topic (something for sale, event, trip, something funny, rant, etc) which is then automatically geo-tagged with your location or any location you choose on the map. Once its created, users can scroll around the map and/or perform tag & category based search to find channels they're interested in like yours, subscribe to that channel, and immediately group chat with you and all other subscribed users. Channels are therefore just location based posts with an embedded anonymous group chat.

How is it different
  • Most social apps require email, usernames, passwords and sometimes other information. This app is meant to be as anonymous as possible, so all we ask is for you to set a username, if and only if, you wish to chat with others or subscribe.
  • Channels was created to be simple and anonymous so we have no menus or ads or hidden ways to make money; just 3 screens that you can swipe between.
  • Rather than stick with the norm of comment based communication like other social platforms, we are chat based so each channel is actually a conversation. Just as if this was a messaging app, you can go between channels to chat with different people from all over the world anonymously about anything.
  • Channels is community driven. We made this app for the community so all posts are by real people, not bots or sponsored data. Upon request we can change this to add more features, but for now we want to make sure everything is community created.
FREE! We will always keep Channels free and if needed we will find other ways to maintain operation costs such as by donations.

Other Features
  • Chat: Each channel has a group chat embedded in the channel, as a pull up view once inside a channel. For now the chats are only text based, but will improve to add other media support as we move forward. The chats are color coded to differentiate you as a user, the creator of the channel, and all other users.
  • Create a channel anywhere: You can create a channel through the floating button, but can also go to any location on the map, hold the screen to create a marker, tap the marker and its pop up message to create a channel at that particular location. This way you can start conversations for places you are at and plan to go.
  • Explore: The third screen of the app is our Explore section which allows users to explore channels by popularity. You can filter results to "Everything" which explores all channels, "Map Area" which explores whatever area is visible on the map screen, or by "My Location" which explores channels around you.
  • Location search: From the Map view (second screen), you can search for a particular location, to then be taken to that location to perform a channel search. This option allows you to go to any particular area in the world, and search for or explore channels in that particular area at any time. Use this to plan talk to people about whats there is to do in an area you're about to visit or to talk about somewhere you visited already for instance.
  • Share: All channels have a share button, to allow you to share the channel with people who don't yet have the app, but you'd like to invite to the channel, or those who do have the app but are not yet in the channel.
  • Navigate: For channels that show their exact location, there is also a navigate button which takes you to Google Maps and shows navigation options for that location. This is ONLY for channels that have chosen to show their exact location, and this can be changed at any time.
  • Channel Photo: All channels are allowed to have a photo associated with the channel. At the moment, we only allow one photo (for simplicity) and photos must be taken with a camera, not uploaded. This is to ensure that all photos are actual user photos, not forged, fake or modified images.

User Concerts
  • Location permission: We do request location services privileges due to the fact that channels are location based. We NEVER use this location information unless you create a channel, and then only use that to associate that channel with a location. When creating a channel, you can also choose to not show your exact location, in which case your original location is never displayed but instead shows the channel on the map in the center of a half mile radius circle. If you do not show your exact location, users also cannot navigate to your location. You toggle this option at any time.
  • Notifications: Channels have push notifications for the chat, but as a subscriber or the creator, you can turn off chat notifications at anytime without unsubscribing from the channel.
  • Private channels: We understand that there is a desire to create channels that are private/invite only, and we are working now to create this feature.

Future Features
  • Private Channels: Allowing invite/only channels that do not show up in searches
  • Photos/gifs in Chat
  • Share to Channel: Allowing users to share posts from other social platforms, into Channels

Sample Uses
  • To plan a trip and chat with only the people who are going
  • To talk to other users anonymously that are at a venue you want to go to but would like to know what its like ahead of time or coordinate where to go next.
  • Alert the community to an emergency at a particular location (I made a Channel for an Amber Alert yesterday so people have a way to share information)
  • Advertise an event or something for sale (or find something for sale or an event)
  • To find a partner or group of people interested in something (i.e tennis partner, gym partner, people interested in sky diving, etc)
  • To explore a new area you've never been with the ability to talk to real people real time.
  • Reminisce with friends or the world anonymously
  • To just talk about something cool, funny or interesting with other people. Who knows, you may meet a new friend!
A message from us
We've created channels completely on our own, between just two guys who've never published apps previously, but wanted to make something of value. We want this app to be something you as users would want to use, so we accept any and all feedback and incorporate it as quickly as possible (for instance, we received feedback a few days after release, and submitted an update within a few hours). Our philosophy is that our app is your app, so any issues you may have with the app, please understand that it's just the two of us and that this is just the beginning, so since we do not have any investors to satisfy, we are 100% willing to improve the app as you, our users, see fit. Feel free to contact us here, on our twitter (@TheChannelsApp), through email (therenaissancelabs@gmail.com) or through the app. Please also rate the app if you have a moment, we highly appreciate it. Stay tuned for any updates!

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